Ankur Mehrotra, CEO, Abraresto, in an interview with e27 talks about future plans and how the company is going to spend the US$1.5 million raised in funding
Indonesia’s restaurant discovery and review site Abraresto announced that it has closed an investment of US$ 1.5 million from Indonesian investors. The website owned by Abratable Pte Ltd which also operates Abratable.com in Singapore, is ready with its ambitious plan in Indonesia.
Ankur Mehrotra, CEO, Abraresto, admitted that the fund raised was not a small amount, but it shows investors’ confidence and ambition for Indonesia market. “Yes,US $1.5 million gives us a good runway but we have ambitious plans for Indonesia as well,” said Mehrotra in an exclusive chat with e27.
Mehrotra explained that majority of the funds will go towards growing the team (marketing, engineers and sales) and online as well as offline marketing efforts. Right now, Abraresto has a team of over 20 (grown from five back in November 2013), and is looking to add more, especially in the sales and marketing departments.
The company will also expand its services to key cities across Indonesia, like Bandung, Jogjakarta, Surabaya, Medan, and Bali to name a few.
“We are religiously focussing on users’ utility right now. We want to make it absolutely easy for anyone to find any F&B related point of interest in Jakarta – whether the latest fine dining and ‘happening’ places or the decades old satay street vendor,” said Mehrotra, explaining that his current focus is on the user experience.
Abraresto also has “My Network” feature which brings in the social aspect by showing users what their friends are saying about a place. Not only are users able to see the top rated or most happening bars/restaurants, but also can filter by top rated or most happening amongst their friends. The social aspect, Mehrotra claims, is one of Abraresto’s strength as compared to other food review sites.
“Furthermore, with the soon to launch app (Shhh…) users can see all of this location based. Now that is cool!” Mehrotra exclaimed.
The targeted BEP & monetization plan
The investors are Indonesian families associated with some of the largest privately held companies in Indonesia. When is the break even point expected for the investment?
“We are at an early stage and it’s hard to share exact time period for us. However, we have clear sight of revenues and pipeline of clients,” said Mehrotra who has worked with Standard Chartered Bank in the past.
He felt that Abraresto gained a lot of insight from close interactions with merchants through Abratable in Singapore, which helped the company enhance its back-end system for merchants, which ultimately will form the base of its monetization plan.
“But it doesn’t mean we haven’t monetized. We have a good few merchant contracts already negotiated,” added Mehrotra.
Since its launch in October 2013, Mehrotra claims, the site has enjoyed tremendous growth. Merchants database has grown from 5,000 to 20,000 in just three months.
“Within a few months of the launch we are now on track to be Indonesia’s largest and most active online restaurant and nightlife guide. We are growing incredibly fast and this funding from strategic Indonesian investors will further speed things up!” concluded Mehrotra.