EMQ Announces Close of $20M Series B Funding Round

  • EMQ, Asia’s leading financial settlement network, announced the close of a $20 million Series B funding round.
  • The latest round of funding is led by WI Harper Group, with participation from new and existing investors including Abu Dhabi Capital, AppWorks, DG Ventures, Hard Yaka, Intudo Ventures, January Capital, Quest Venture Partners, SparkLabs Taipei, Vectr Fintech Partners, and VS Partners.
  • EMQ will use the investment to further accelerate its international growth, product development and licensing activities across Asia, Europe and the Americas.

EMQ, Asia’s leading financial settlement network, announced today the issuance of $20 million Series B Preferred Shares, led by WI Harper Group, with participation from new and existing investors including Abu Dhabi Capital, AppWorks, DG Ventures, Hard Yaka, Intudo Ventures, January Capital, Quest Venture Partners, SparkLabs Taipei, Vectr Fintech Partners, and VS Partners. EMQ will use the investment to further accelerate its international growth, product development and licensing activities across Asia, Europe and the Americas.

“At EMQ, we are building a global settlement network that enables everyone to send money anywhere in the world and to any end point with a simple one-stop integration,”  said Max Liu, co-founder and CEO of EMQ. “This new funding marks a significant milestone in our next phase of strategic growth as we continue to innovate and deliver a network infrastructure that complies with regulatory requirements and streamlines the complexities in processing real-time international payments across the whole payment ecosystem. We are excited to partner with WI Harper as well as our new and existing VCs, who share our passion to make infrastructure a competitive advantage for next-generation enterprises.”

With a network footprint touching billions of people, EMQ’s flexible and scalable infrastructure eliminates unnecessary intermediaries and directly integrates to all the end-points, facilitating seamless, real-time and cost-effective cross-border settlements. Currently, EMQ ‘s network spans across Asia Pacific, Africa, Europe and North America, with access to over 80 key global markets and millions of digital endpoints. The company is currently licensed in Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia and registered as a Money Service Business in Canada. EMQ was also accepted into Taiwan’s Regulatory Sandbox by the Financial Supervisory Commission in Taiwan.

“As digital transformation intensifies globally, enterprises today are increasingly international in scale and they will require a network infrastructure like EMQ with greater speed, more certainty, increased flexibility and transparency, to expand their business in Asia and beyond. We are excited to partner with the EMQ team to expand its market-leading position in cross-border business payments globally,” said Edward Liu, Partner at WI Harper Group.

“As we look to the future, we will continue to invest significantly towards constant innovation of our cross-border solutions and compliance capabilities, to deliver additional value to the global payments ecosystem and capitalize on the explosive growth of cross-border B2B payments market – valued to exceed US$218 trillion by 2022,” Max Liu added.

About EMQ

EMQ operates a global financial settlement network that provides a faster, more affordable and transparent cross-border settlement solution for businesses around the world, while adhering to complex regulations and compliance standards in different markets. The company’s flexible network infrastructure has been built to effectively settle any cross-border movement of capital and can be deployed across multiple vertical industries for a broad range of services, including e-commerce, merchant settlement, procurement, remittance, payroll, etc. .

【If you are a founder working on a startup in SEA, or working with AI / Blockchain, apply to AppWorks Accelerator to join the largest founder community in Greater Southeast Asia.】

First Half of 2020 Ecosystem Update: Taiwan’s Blockchain industry Shakes off Global Lockdowns and Exhibits Stronger Corporate interest

Jun Wakabayashi, Analyst (若林純 / 分析師)

Jun is an Analyst covering both AppWorks Accelerator and Greater Southeast Asia. Born and bred in America, Jun brings a wealth of international experience to AppWorks. He spent the last several years before joining AppWorks working for Focus Reports, where he conducted sector-based market research and interviewed high-level government leaders and industry executives across the globe. He’s now lived in 7 countries outside US and Taiwan, while traveling to upwards of 50 for leisure, collectively highlighting his unique propensity for cross-cultural immersion and international business. Jun received his Bachelors in Finance from New York University’s Stern School of Business.

As the world came to a standstill from COVID19, the first half of 2020 proved to be a challenging time for industries across the board. With all its promises and potential, even the nascent blockchain industry was not immune to worldwide lockdown and social distancing measures. A handful of established players certainly benefited from the accelerated shift to online consumption and digital living. But, those projects without solid foundations, compelling use cases, and sustainable business models quickly found themselves at the end of their runways.

With only 447 confirmed cases and 0 local transmissions in the last two months, Taiwan has garnered worldwide adoration for its handling of the novel coronavirus. The local blockchain industry, however, did not go completely unscathed. Compared to 19H2, 21 projects have since ceased operations and been taken off the map. This is the largest number of removals since AppWorks Accelerator started producing the ecosystem map two years ago. With only 16 additions, there were also a fewer number of new organizations entering the ecosystem compared to any other half. Collectively, there was a total of 112 projects noted on the map, down from 115 in the last update.

(Welcome to download map here: Taiwan’s Blockchain Ecosystem Map First Half 2020)

2020 is clearly shaping up to be a year of reckoning. Financial markets are in disarray, global supply chains have been crippled, and economies across the globe are struggling with unprecedented productivity loss. That said, if 2008 was any indication, heroes are often born in the midst of a crisis. The pandemic has highlighted glaring efficiency and reliability gaps in our current processes and systems, forcing upon us new ways of working and thinking. “The new normal” may very well serve as the necessary accelerant to convert blockchain’s perception of cautious skepticism into widespread pragmatism, which we’re already starting to see early signals of.

Enterprise adoption picks up

There’s been a lot of talk about how and when to potentially use blockchain. Now, it seems like enterprise adoption is starting to pick up steam. As many of them lack the capabilities in house, we’ve seen several corporates in the last six months announce their latest initiatives in partnership with local blockchain startups.  

Taiwan’s leading financial conglomerate with over US$335B AUM Cathay Financial Holdings announced that it’s developing an electric vehicle IoT financing platform in conjunction with EV charging service provide ChargeSmith (AW#16) and supply chain-focused blockchain startup BSOS. The new platform collects and stores EV owners’ driving behavior, which will then be used to provide real-time personalized financial services ranging from insurance to banking products. In another example of enterprise partnerships, longstanding email security provider Openfind unveiled its collaboration with BlockChain Security to launch an intellectual property protection solution, which aims to help enterprises store and transmit confidential information more securely. 

It’s no secret that banks have been some of the earliest adopters of blockchain technology in Taiwan, as seen by Cathay and CTBC, the latter of which runs its own blockchain incubator and is a part of international blockchain consortium R3. Taiwan Business Bank was the latest to hop on the bandwagon. They recently unveiled their intentions to implement blockchain technology into the process of issuing confirmation letters in order to lower the risk of falsification.

Meanwhile, crypto asset management platform Bincentive recently disclosed its partnership with Japan-based Rakuten. Users of the international e-commerce site will now be able to purchase crypto investments using their loyalty points. Along the same lines, BitoEx (AW#6) which operates one of Taiwan’s largest crypto exchanges now allows FamilyMart members to redeem their loyalty points for bitcoin purchases.

Thus far, Tawianese corporations are clearly displaying a positive embrace of blockchain technology. However, due to their traditional management structure, implementation of the technology is still veered towards a centralized model, inhibiting some of the touted benefits of blockchain such as autonomy, no single point of failure, and overall the democratization of data and authority. Moving forward, it’ll be worth observing how enterprises might adjust their cultures and governance models as decentralization increasingly transitions from fringe to mainstream adoption. 

The new normal

Blockchain has been in development for well over a decade now, and the crypto market has correspondingly undergone its fair share of cycles. In the process, investors have become increasingly more sophisticated in terms of their understanding and approach to the market, as well as the instruments and structures they use to finance deals. Nevertheless, crippled economies across the globe have led investors to reel back their money for the time being, allocating their attention to existing portfolios or waiting for brighter horizons.

With the current circumstances, the development of early stage startups has become polarized. The market will be unrelenting for those relying on projects to generate ad hoc cash flow, as the downturn has caused a tightening of the belt for customers across the board. On the other hand, those teams that have found product-market fit and solve a real world pain point for clients at scale will have greater commercial prospects, ultimately contributing to a stronger and more sustainable ecosystem that’s driven by a project’s actual value rather than market hype and speculation.

There were a few bold blockchain entrepreneurs, for example, with innovative technology and solid business models that were highly favored by investors. CoolBitX successfully closed a US$16.75M series B round of financing, led by SBI Holdings. The newly raised funds will be used to continue development and rollout of its messaging-based KYC/AML solution for virtual asset providers. In addition, BSOS also completed a million-dollar seed round in the first half of 2020—including NT$20M (US$678K) from Taiwan’s National Development Fund—to advance its blockchain-based supply chain financing solution for enterprises. 

Digitalization vs decentralization

Looking back in the first half of 2020, it was a rather harrowing time for the blockchain industry. Right at the onset of COVID19 in March, cryptocurrency prices dropped by 40%. A few months later in May, Telegram—which in 2018 raised the second largest ICO in history at US$1.7B— announced the suspension of its blockchain project the Telegram Open Network (TON) shortly after the SEC won a preliminary injunction, citing a plausible case that Telegram had sold unregistered securities in its coin offering.

Crypto prices have since more or less recovered to pre-COVID19 levels, especially as people increasingly sought out alternative stores of value like bitcoin as a hedge against inflationary currencies. The halving of bitcoin this past May and the added supply scarcity will likely continue to drive up its value, as it’s done so consistently in the past. Since TON was officially abandoned, there have been many communities around the globe that have been rallying to keep it alive, including the Chinese TON community which claimed that it would launch its own version of the blockchain. 

At this point, what are the next growth opportunities for blockchain? Everyone has different interpretations and expectations. However, currently, conversations are mostly centered around the pandemic, with criticisms mainly targeted at the limitations and failures of centralization. Whether it’s in terms of tracing vaccination records, tracking medical supplies, eliminating fake news, or disbursing economic aid, decentralization has been thrown in as a prominent solution to many use cases. However, as impactful as these use cases may be, the reality is that boilerplate digitalization is still higher on the pecking order for most people. The age of remote work catapulted people into a new normal, forcing everyone to figure out how to do everything over the worldwide web, from basic necessities like ordering food or groceries to lifestyle needs like exercise and socialization to work needs like conducting meetings or business presentations. 

Digitalization and decentralization are not mutually exclusive, however. If anything they are complementary. Novel thinking often calls for novel solutions. Decentralization can provide the perfect combination of efficiency, transparency, and autonomy that people didn’t even know they wanted or needed. For now, aside from decentralized finance (DeFi), games and entertainment-related services will likely dominate the majority of use cases, both of which  benefited tremendously from the pandemic in terms of adoption and usage. 

Existing entrepreneurs in this space would be wise to continue building their experience in this area, acquiring users, and strengthening their positioning. For aspiring entrepreneurs, realize that the world has hit reset and undergone a rude awakening; consequently, there’s never been a better time to explore and introduce radical new ideas.

Taiwan’s Blockchain Ecosystem Map First Half 2020 is produced by AppWorks and updated every six months. If you have any comments or suggestions, please send us an email at a@appworks.tw.

【If you are a founder working on a startup in SEA, or working with AI / Blockchain, apply to AppWorks Accelerator to join the largest founder community in Greater Southeast Asia.】

Photo by Robert Pastryk on Pixabay

Taiwan’s AI Ecosystem Mapped out for the First Half of 2020 — New Opportunities Emerging during the Pandemic

Natalie Lin, Analyst (林楓 / 分析師)

Natalie is an Analyst covering AppWorks Accelerator and Greater Southeast Asia. Before joining the team, she worked in the search engine marketing and email marketing teams at Zappos, America’s leading shoes and fashion online retailer, where she primarily focused on KPI management, campaign optimization, and project management. Born in Canada and raised in the Middle East, Natalie returned to Taiwan for high school before moving to the US for college and work. She received her Bachelors of Marketing at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Outside of work she likes to read, travel, and play video games.

As a founder thinking about Taiwan, engineering talents and a sizable and well developed digital ecosystem are normally at the top of mind. But increasingly entering the mix now is Taiwan’s growing AI capabilities. It is a result of both industry trends and government policies. In her inaugural speech given in May, re-elected President Tsai Ing-wen mentioned six core strategic industries for Taiwan that included an acceleration of AI and IoT while highlighting the future of digital and data. 

In order for an AI ecosystem to flourish, both the government and the private sector must embrace and work to build it. In October 2019, the National Center for High-Performance Computing co-worked with Quanta Computer, ASUS, and Taiwan Mobile to build TAIWANIA 2, a supercomputer built for AI, which offers its cloud service through Taiwan Computing Cloud (TWCC). Since its commercialization, TAIWANIA 2 has driven over 300 projects from industries, academia, and research organizations. 10 million GPU computing hours have been utilized, AI training time has been reduced by 90%, and the efficiency of deep learning has been raised 498 times. The added capacity far exceeds the current computing demands of Taiwan’s AI industry, seamlessly aligning with the country’s national strategy. 

As Taiwan gradually becomes a major AI center for the development of Greater Southeast Asia (ASEAN + Taiwan), tech companies are starting to pay attention. Microsoft has already promoted their AI Infinity program to recruit talents and set up R&D centers. In addition to covering commercial AI solutions, think tanks are being set up and Microsoft is also cooperating with National Chengchi University to open AI business courses for enterprises to understand how to implement AI to accelerate transformation within their company.

Although the new virus that broke out in the first half of 2020 halted some commercial activities and significantly impacted many existing industries, the epidemic did not stop the development of Taiwan’s AI ecosystem. In the process of updating the 2020 H1 Taiwan AI Ecosystem Map by AppWorks Accelerator, we found that in the last 6 months, there have been several trends worth noting:

(Welcome to download map here: Taiwan’s AI Ecosystem Map First Half 2020)

The retail industry was forced to go online during the pandemic, giving digital marketing a platform to shine

During the pandemic, consumer behavior has changed. Their shopping habits accelerated from going to physical stores to switching to online channels instead. How companies can stand out in the online world has become a new learning curve for retailers. This epidemic will not only accelerate the speed of digital transformation of the traditional retail industry, but also give rise to smart retail, which integrates online and offline experiences as their focus.

In the past few years, we’ve noticed that AI innovation focusing on digital marketing operations have sprung up. By using AI technology to accurately do ad placements, track user journey and behavior, and analyze the collected data, companies are able to outline consumer profiles and thus more accurately predict consumer shopping preferences and price orientation, creating personalized shopping experiences for each visitor.

Even visitors that don’t end up converting or placing an order provides a gem of data analysis. Companies can use AI and big data to target this group of potential customers who have yet to make a transaction by carrying out remarketing campaigns to improve conversion rates and overall marketing performance.

The opportunities are endless under this trend, especially for startups. In February 2020, MarTech startup Accuhit, which just raised a NT$ 70 million pre-A round, provides both subscription-based use and project-based consulting to analyze customers’ historical purchasing behavior and make predictions. Omnichat (AW#16), an alumni of AppWorks Accelerator, specializes in a marketing automation subscription service that provides multi-channel conversational commerce focusing on ecommerce clients. The platform has an average conversion rate 3x to 7x higher than the overall trend in ecommerce. They recently completed a seed round earlier this year, led by AppWorks Funds.

An explosive introduction of AI applications in healthcare

Alongside digital marketing, AI is also thriving within the medical field. According to Global Market Insights, the global healthcare AI market will reach US$ 13 billion by 2025, with an average annual compound growth rate (CAGR) of 40.6% from 2019 to 2025. Over the past six months, particularly during this pandemic, AI usage in improving the efficiency of medical consultation and disease screening is at an all-time high.

Taiwan has accumulated years of experience in the development of AI in healthcare. Since medical AI algorithms require a large amount of labeling data in order to train the model, as early as 2018 the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) co-worked with National Taiwan University, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, and Taipei Medical University to open the first pathology database for cross-institutional annotated medical images in Taiwan. These kinds of developments not only help physicians accelerate medical image interpretation and improve the consistency and accuracy of diagnoses, but also shorten the time for patients to seek medical treatment and reduce invasive examinations.

In the startup ecosystem, we also see a rise in the development of AI in healthcare startups. We see applications like developing AI technology for over a billion pixel image analysis and high-performance computing (AI HPC) with AI Explore; medical imaging AI platform services with aetherAI; medical staff assistance to interpret Computer Tomography (CT) scans for cerebral hemorrhaging with Deep01; and during this epidemic, Heroic-Faith developed a smart respiratory monitoring system.

A friendly ecosystem for AI startups is gradually taking shape

As more AI startups plan on expanding to other markets, Taiwan is considered a hotbed in terms of startup accelerators, education, and research for AI founders to leverage the ecosystem. On the accelerator side, AppWorks Accelerator was established in 2010 and focuses on recruiting AI / IoT and Blockchain founders only since August 2018 (AW#17). So far, it has recruited 89 of these startups, with 44 of them being AI and 16 of them being IoT. Together these startups are well positioned to further accelerate Taiwan’s burgeoning AI ecosystem.

In addition to AppWorks, there are many other accelerators supporting the AI ecosystem in Taiwan. Microsoft for Startups, Sparklabs Taipei, Taiwan AI x Robotics Accelerator, and more are all community builders that recruit AI startup teams. Under this AI wave, other accelerators that aren’t focusing on AI have also found success in recruiting AI startups, such as TAcc+ and BE Accelerator.

In VC, investment in AI companies have also grown year-over-year, providing financial assistance to AI startups looking for growth or expansion opportunities. For example, AppWorks Funds is a VC focusing on the three themes of AI, Blockchain, and Southeast Asia. Other well-known VCs in Taiwan include ACE Capital, Cherubic Ventures, TransLink Capital, and more have also greatly invested in AI in the past 2 years. Related Taiwanese investments to AI startups include CloudMile, Umbo CV (AW#9), Cubo AI (AW#16), and MoBagel (AW#16).

In Taiwan’s thriving AI ecosystem, new AI developments can be seen in various well-known technology exhibitions and forums. At the annual COMPUTEX conference, there’s a new startup-themed exhibition called InnoVEX that has attracted many talented AI founders to sign up to build bridges with investors and enthusiasts from all over the world. This year due to the pandemic, COMPUTEX was cancelled for 2020 and InnoVEX changed to #InnoVEXOnlineDemo. NVIDIA also held their famous AI conference NVIDIA GTC (GPU Technology Conference) in Taipei in 2018, providing opportunities for all stakeholders to meet and each other. GTC Taiwan 2020 is expected to be held this year in Taipei.

Taiwan AI Academy and Taiwan AI Labs are still Taiwan’s representative institutions in the field of AI education and research, respectively. They continue to inject talent and innovation to Taiwan’s AI development. There was a tragic loss for the community of Taiwan’s AI ecosystem as Sheng-Wei Chen passed away earlier this year. He was the CEO of Taiwan AI Academy and founded the organization that has cultivated more than 6,000 talents for Taiwan in the span of 2 years. His contributions include progressing the mission of transforming industries with AI, making data science known as his north star, and growing AI talent.  He and his work will forever be remembered by Taiwan’s AI growing community.

Taiwan’s AI Ecosystem Map First Half 2020 is produced by AppWorks and updated every six months. If you have any comments or suggestions, please send us an email at a@appworks.tw.

【If you are a founder working on a startup in SEA, or working with AI / Blockchain, apply to AppWorks Accelerator to join the largest founder community in Greater Southeast Asia.】

Photo by tingyaoh on Pixabay

Mid Pandemic, Digital School Management Startup InfraDigital Closes Series A

InfraDigital today announced the closing of an undisclosed amount of Series A funding from investor AppWorks. The company helps schools kickstart their digital transformation by digitizing student and financial data, automating back office processes, and facilitating online tuition payments.

Rapid Expansion across 12 provinces

This funding round follows on from their seed funding last year. They are now active in 13 provinces in Indonesia, from North Sumatera to South Sulawesi, with their platform deployed in over 350 schools serving over 165,000 students.

The startup partners with a variety of stakeholders including banks, education foundations, and government bodies to help Indonesian schools upgrade their largely analog systems. InfraDigital is also the innovator behind “Jaringan IDN”, a payments processing network established in conjunction with Gojek, Tokopedia, LinkAja, Alfamart, Ayopop, Indomaret, and many more to help educational institutions seamlessly collect tuition fees both online and offline.

Why it is important for schools

Edtech has the potential to substantially elevate Indonesia’s quality of education, while improving outcomes and overall standards of living for over 50 million students. Unfortunately, the reality is that most schools struggle with tracking even basic student data and often lack the digital tools for proper financial management and planning. The high cost of existing solutions has also inhibited widespread access to digital technologies, especially for schools in more rural areas which are often strained for resources.

InfraDigital has been actively assisting schools to address these pain points, targeting two of the most impactful areas of school management, financial operations and data transparency. Through their platform, schools are able to transition to cashless tuition collection, increasing income up to 16% in some cases. With InfraDigital, school administrators are granted full visibility into the operational health of their organization, enabling them to make smarter financial decisions and create a better student experience.

Since its establishment in 2018, InfraDigital’s solutions have been widely adopted among Tier 2 and rural area schools, with many experiencing data and financial digitalization for the first time. “Our mission is to help Indonesian schools create a seamless student experience through technology. Whether it’s in terms of facilitating online payments or streamlining back office operations, we can help schools embrace digitalization with ease. We’re currently focused on building the underlying technical infrastructure so that we can eventually layer more value-added services on top for all stakeholders involved including administrators, teachers, students, and parents. This foundation is critical in bridging the growing inequality between remote schools and urban schools, and ensuring all students are afforded a quality education despite their socioeconomic status.” says Indah Maryani, co-founder of InfraDigital.

Pandemic “accelerating” digital transformation of schools

News of the funding arrives at the height of COVID-19, which shuttered countless schools across the country and forced many of them to look towards online education. InfraDigital moved quickly to assist schools at the onset of the pandemic, reducing the cost of their online payments platform and adding a PPDB/PMB (online student registration) service free of charge while schools were forced to remain closed during the pandemic.

“The pandemic has actually pushed many educational institutions to reassess their decades old manual processes and explore digital options that optimize for efficiency, costs, and insights. Since the start of the crisis, we have seen a flood of requests to assist in multiple areas of school management, including online student registration, payments, and other digital administrative functions,” says Indah.

Future roadmap

The company is currently dedicating all its resources to assisting new and existing clients and helping them meet the added demands and complexities during COVID19 closures. Especially during this period of economic uncertainty, InfraDigital’s innovative tools reduce any friction in student payments and enrollments via PPDB/PMB, ultimately helping schools secure their finances and build a solid operational foundation.

“Schools in Indonesia have long been suffering from inefficient cash flow due to the widespread use of legacy, paper-based systems. Services like Infradigital are a win-win for both parents and educational institutions, allowing them to easily manage the tuition payment process and enhance schools’ finances and overall operational capacities,“ says AppWorks partner Jessica Liu.

Moving forward, InfraDigital hopes to expand its footprint to other regions of Indonesia and eventually become a full-stack digital solution for educational institutions. ”Longer term our goal remains the same, to provide every school in Indonesia, regardless of resources, with solid digital and financial foundations. The industry is at an early stage and we have a lot of work to do, a lot of schools to reach. We are delighted to have the continued support of AppWorks and count ourselves lucky to have an investor who shares our long-term vision,” says Ian McKenna, co-founder and CEO of InfraDigital.

【If you are a founder working on a startup in SEA, or working with AI / Blockchain, apply to AppWorks Accelerator to join the largest founder community in Greater Southeast Asia.】

Indonesia-Based New Retail Company ‘Fabelio’ Announces US$9 Million Series C1 Funding to Take on IKEA

  • Fabelio is one of Indonesia’s top furniture brands. It has successfully raised US$9 million as part of its ongoing Series C Round, led by AppWorks and MDI Ventures and  Endeavour Catalyst.
  • Funding will be used to accelerate its domestic presence within Indonesia and Southeast Asia, as well as strengthen its technological and supply chain capabilities.
  • Since its launch in 2015, Fabelio has established three offices and 20 experience centres in Indonesia, spearheaded by 82% year-on-year growth in 2019.

Indonesia’s leading new online furniture retailer, Fabelio, announced today that it has successfully raised US$9 million as part of its Series C round, bringing its total funding to more than US$20 million. The first close of the round was led by Taiwanese venture firm, AppWorks, Endeavour Catalyst and Telkom Group-backed MDI Ventures. Existing investor, Aavishkaar Capital also contributed to the fund. This round of financing will further accelerate the development of Fabelio’s supply chain network of logistics hubs and experience centres to support its domestic expansion into new regions and cities within Indonesia such as Java and Bali by November 2020. As part of this latest round, AppWork’s’ Partner, Jessica Liu will be joining Fabelio’s Board of Directors.

“After five years of scaling up and defining the fundamentals of our ‘new retail’ strategy, we are ready to accelerate our growth with this Series C round,” said Marshall Tegar Utoyo, CEO and Co-Founder at Fabelio. “We are grateful to our new investors from AppWorks, Endeavour Catalyst and MDI Ventures for their support and global expertise. Our main focus will be to improve our product categories and improve delivery times. On top of that, we will expand our sphere of influence across Indonesia by opening new warehouses and experience centres in new cities. Additionally, we are seeing more US and Chinese companies are setting up operations in Indonesia, opening up opportunities for global trade and manufacturing. These  market trends, combined with their efforts will enable us to win a larger market share in this exciting US$6.7 billion home furniture market in Indonesia.”

Founded in 2015, Fabelio offers well-crafted and high-quality furniture for the Indonesian market from local designers at attractive prices, offering free same-day delivery services and a 2-year warranty period for all its products. The company also positions itself as a bespoke B2B service for properties, providing a free interior design consultancy for those seeking to furnish homes, office spaces, hotels or restaurants. Since its US$6.5 million Series B fundraise in 2018, Fabelio has experienced exponential growth in Indonesia, boasting three domestic offices and

20 experience centres in strategic areas such as Jabodetabek and Bandung with a headcount of 430 staff. To date, Fabelio has experienced 82% year-on-year growth in customer acquisition, with more than 1,000 B2B projects ranging from residential properties such as houses and apartments, offices to retail brands such as Citraland, BRI and Jakarta MRT. Its product shipments have now reached more than 750 sub-districts throughout Java. Its unit economics have been positive since late 2017 and is on track to target profitability by 2022.

“Over the last couple of years, the trend has been crystal clear: the contribution of online sales in every vertical has been increasing in Indonesia: be it electronics, fashion, groceries or furniture. This trend has been massively accelerated due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In April, we recorded our highest online sales ever with figures surpassing those experienced during Indonesia’s #1 online shopping day Harbolnas on 12/12. The future of e-commerce is brighter than ever, and the simultaneous ramp-up in payments and infrastructure will support this development.” said Christian Sutardi, Co-Founder at Fabelio.

“Fabelio is building a locally relevant furniture brand for a generation of digitally native Indonesians,” said Jessica Liu, Partner at AppWorks. “In just five years, they’ve introduced world-class furniture products that have been adopted by a growing segment of Indonesians and businesses. Their customer-first value shapes a better shopping experience and becomes a category-transforming business. We are excited to join Fabelio on their mission to shape the future of Indonesian’s furniture industry.”

Winston Adi, Head of Investments at MDI Ventures, said, “We are delighted to be part of Fabelio and their stellar leadership team. As businesses are turning digital, it is very important to blur the lines between physical and digital, maintain efficiency with data, and tackle the relevant market with a highly scalable business model to gain the market lead. Fabelio is set in a unique position to check all the boxes as the perfect example to create a digital innovation in the retail industry. We believe with this investment, Fabelio will be able to tap on more business and consumers and have their furniture reachable to every household and business across local and regional markets. MDI will provide continuous support as they continue to bring innovative solutions to the market and execute its long term vision.”

EN Venkat, Partner at Aavishkaar Capital said, “Fabelio has deep networks with artisans and manufacturers from local furniture-making centres in Indonesia. Their tremendous effort in empowering Indonesian Micro-Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are the inspiration behind our involvement in their exciting omnichannel furniture business, we look forward to our continued involvement with Fabelio.”

Fabelio’s primary focus for 2020 will be increasing market share through the hiring of key engineering talent, continued online marketing efforts, product development and operational improvements. It is actively seeking regional investors in Southeast Asia and China to conclude its Series C round by end-2020, enabling Fabelio to deliver on its mission of offering high-quality furniture and outstanding customer service, and in doing so, winning the trust of Indonesian customers. “Our end-goal was always to provide a better customer experience. In the two years, we see ourselves as a home & living destination that can provide our customers with all products and services related to their furnishing and interior needs. A significant portion of the funding will be invested in technology, which includes scaling up our current team of 40 engineers.” added Sutardi.

About Fabelio

Fabelio is an Indonesian-based company engaged in furniture and interior design. Founded on June 1, 2015, it provides a wide variety of furniture for living rooms, dining areas, workspaces and bedrooms. Fabelio also offers interior design services for offices and homes, as well as customised kitchen sets and wardrobe services through Fabelio Projects. Aside from selling their products online, Fabelio has 20 experience centres in the Greater Jakarta and Bandung areas, as well as service coverage to almost all areas of Java, Indonesia.

【If you are a founder working on a startup in SEA, or working with AI / Blockchain, apply to AppWorks Accelerator to join the largest founder community in Greater Southeast Asia.】