A Warung Pintar prototype

New Retail company Warung Pintar today announced that it has closed a US$4 million seed funding round from SMDV, Digital Garage, East Ventures, Insignia Ventures Partner, Triputra Group, and various unnamed angel investors.

Warung Pintar is the digitised version of existing mom-and-pop stores (“warung“), a concept that is widely known in Indonesian society.

Launched in late January as an internal project of East Ventures, Warung Pintar differentiates by enabling customers to do online transactions in addition to the usual grocery shopping.

Operating in a partnership model with store owners, it also implements a digitised bookkeeping, warehousing, distribution process, and cash registry system through services provided by startups such as Moka POS, Jurnal, Kudo, Do-Cart, and Waresix.

In a press statement,  the company said that it plans to use the new funding to turn its prototype into mass product.

“We see Warung Pintar as the technology platform which connect multiple opportunities for our partners. We believe there are room to explore and we do welcome more partners from both tech and non-tech companies. With this new funding we hope to develop couple of hundreds Warung Pintar in this year,” said Warung Pintar CEO Agung Bezharie.

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By the time of its launch, Warung Pintar operated eight outlets in Greater Jakarta Area. The number has already grown into 12 outlets.

Internet giants in Asia such as Alibaba and Tencent have been following the footsteps of Amazon in embracing the concept of New Retail, where offline retail business is combined with digital transactions.

The rise of such business is not without challenges as recently, Chinese unmanned minimarket operator GOGO无人超市 had to close down after operating for only four months, citing financial issues.

In the Indonesian market, prior to the launch of Warung Pintar, several startups have implemented a concept that enables mom-and-pop stores to serve as a channel for digital transactions.

Examples of these startups are Kudo (an East Ventures portfolio company which had been acquired by ride-hailing giant Grab) and Kioson (which has made history as one of the first Indonesian tech startups to list on IDX). Even online marketplace Bukalapak has begun using warungs as offline agents to promote its service.

Image Credit: Warung Pintar