The Kudo team

Kudo was among the first ones to introduce to the Indonesian public about financial inclusion, and doing so with its technology caught Grab’s attention.

Kudo was founded in July 2014 with the mission to have a practical solution for the marketplace and payment ecosystem in Indonesia. E-commerce used to be a limited thing for areas where people do not have adequate internet access, and when Kudo was established, it tried to change that.

Not only for those with no internet access, but Kudo also targeted those who chose not to use online transaction by making the online transaction a cash transaction.

“The idea is to have the people who are of middle income get access to products and services that they can sell without having to have an inventory, which is something that costs them a lot when it comes to starting a business,” said Agung Nugroho, Kudo’s CEO. With its application, users are facilitated to become agents and start their own business.

Agent network is something that has been an explorable solution to Indonesia’s scattered large population. Kudo allows the unbanked population in Indonesia to shop online via agents who facilitate the transaction and become reseller through available agents.

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Kudo caught ride-hailing giant Grab’s attention right when the company started to push into Indonesia with its “Grab 4 Indonesia 2020 master plan”. What Kudo offered at that time was deemed fitting for Grab’s payment infrastructure, since its financial services product is on its top priority for improvement, and so, Grab acquired Kudo.

From having a successful startup that touched base on financial inclusion into migrating to be under Grab’s wings, Nugroho will cover all bases in its upcoming Echelon panel. Titled “From startup to acquisition: How one company endeared itself to Grab”, Nugroho said he will share the story about how he co-founded Kudo and how the company empowers mass market segments and helps to enable the small retailers through and within tech ecosystem.

Kudo is a short for a small shop to sell online in the Indonesian language, a self-explanatory name that helps people understand it better.

Nugroho shared with e27 the updates on Kudo, just in time to pump up the session he’s about to have.

“In terms of achievements, I’m really proud of how our Kudo agent network has evolved. Under Grab, our agent network helped to create and to recruit more than 700,000 new Grab drivers last year alone, which means 700,000 new jobs were created,” said Nugroho.

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As for innovation, Nugroho said that the company is gearing up on creating technology that would enable traditional retailers to be more productive. “The innovation will be always around that part,” he emphasised.

In the coming months, Nugroho confirmed that there will be at least two new financial service products to be a part of agent network products.

“This year, we will go bolder and bigger, enlarging our agent network, partnering with OVO, and Grab, to ensure the impact is bigger, working as one ecosystem in which all three serve Indonesian population and boost financial inclusion for middle to the low economy,” Nugroho added.

For Kudo, the constant question is how can it enable middle to low income through traditional retailers, or warung in Indonesian. The company’s homework is still financial inclusion.

Since its first market penetration, there were lots of similar fintechs trying with the same financial inclusion mission. Kudo stays ahead by focussing on the people that it serves.

“We strive to remain authentic. We provide our agents with a commercial transaction, digital payment, and working capital so that traditional warung can be as competitive. This way, our service will differentiate us from competitors,” said Nugroho.

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