Over one year after the agreement was quietly inked, AllDealsAsia announced today that it is in the final stages of an acquisition by Indonesia’s conglomerate giant Lippo Group and senior leadership from AllDealsAsia has already been playing a major role in the development of MatahariMall.
Financial details of the deal are undisclosed and, as part of the acquisition, AllDealsAsia will be closing down on April 30.
The deal is important for two reasons; it is an important exit in Singapore’s startup history and it shines some light on Lippo Group’s e-commerce venture MatahariMall.
If we lift the wizard’s curtain, for the last year, AllDealsAsia Co-Founder and CEO Yiping Goh has been playing the role of Founding Member, Chief Product Officer and Co-Lead of CrossBorder Sellers Programme — in lay terms, she was an integral cog in taking MatahariMall from idea to what is believed to be Indonesia’s second largest e-commerce company.
“I was just too busy. We were so focussed on preparing the launch of MatahariMall,” Goh told e27 with a smile, explaining why she was going public now.
I believe she understood why I asked the question; a nice funding round is a ‘startup-metric’ that drives conversation within the community, but an exit is far more substantial.
It is a symbol that a particular ecosystem is producing healthy, quality companies and gives confidence to both Founders and investors about the ability for startups to find an exit path.
So, when a massive regional conglomerate acquires a well-known startup, it is not often the news stays underground for more than year.
“There was no real particular reason for [making an announcement] now. It is just because a lot of people in the startup industry are asking ‘Hey, what are you doing now’,” said Goh.
AllDealsAsia was founded in 2010 by Goh and her brother Wayne and went on to become one of Southeast Asia’s largest e-commerce aggregator portals.
The aggregator startup was inspired at the time by the popularity of Groupon and the multitude of companies looking to localise the business model. In 2011, AllDealsAsia raised S$500,000 (US$370,000) from Iconic Ventures to expand its website to include companies like Lazada, Qoo10, and its own daily deals.
The company grew to have 500,000 subscribers.
“It is a little like what happened to Pie (the work messaging startup acquired by Google in February). The basic interest from Lippo Group is to understand e-commerce and the [learn from our] experience of running an e-commerce company,” said Goh.
For MatahariMall, one of AllDealsAsia’s attractive traits was its O2O mode — the e-commerce startup was one of the firsts in the region to integrate online orders and offline pick-ups.
To a certain extent, it was ahead of its time in the trend which today is becoming more popular across Southeast Asia.
As MatahariMall has a well-publicised O2O strategy, the attraction is natural.
The Director of Lippo Group, John Riady echoed a similar sentiment.
“This is very good partnership. We saw a very talented team and there is so much we can learn from them regarding e-commerce in the region,” he said in a statement.
Goh said the startup’s flexibility, adaptability and quick decision-making skills were other attributes Lippo Group found attractive.
And now that Goh is in a position of power inside MatahariMall, those characteristics have become part of the internal culture. Goh said she promotes experimentation, and a ‘deliver fast, test fast’ attitude.
“We now have almost every single payment mode Indonesians would use such as cash-on-demand, bank transfers, e-money, credit cards, wallets and even paying at convenience stores and post offices. We adopt a very fast weekly delivery schedule on our product roadmap,” she said.
“It is analyse but try not to overanalyse what users want. We let traction speak for itself.”
In terms of integration, AllDealsAsia will be onboarding cross-border merchants from Singapore to sell on Matahari Mall. However, Goh said because the two companies do not have much of an overlapping consumer base, there is no clear path towards migrating subscribers to MatahariMall.
Also Read: Living in the fast lane at MatahariMall’s HQ
This being said, the acquisition of AllDealsAsia by Lippo Group should be seen as a win for Singapore.
AllDealsAsia was one of the early success stories in the Singaporean startup ecosystem. It made waves when funding was dry, government support was just beginning and cultural barriers were more significant.
So, if there is any acquisition to root for, this is it.