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The Impact of Covid-19 Pandemic for Startup Business in Indonesia

Blibli, TaniHub Group, and Modalku to evaluate business target and capex in 2020

Corry Anestia - 31 March 2020

The government appeal to working from home and recommend physical distancing related to the Covid-19, especially in Jakarta area, has an impact on three centaur startup in Indonesia, Blibli.com, Modalku, and TaniHub Group.

TaniHub Group’s CEO, Ivan Arie Sustiawan said the agriculture e-commerce service is getting customers’ increase up to 20,000. The rise has impacted 15%-20% of transaction orders.

Not only vegetables, fruits, and harvested goods, the high demand also applies to herbs and other ingredients to improve body immune.

In anticipating the increase, he said, TaniHub has applied some new terms regarding food sofety to protect the safety and health of employees, partners, and customers without affecting the service quality. The food safety initiative actually exists since the beginning of TaniHub Group.

Capex evaluation plan

On the other hand, due to the unstable situation, TaniHub will re-evaluate all the ongoing capex [capital expenditures] in 2020. He said the initiative is for TaniHub can focus more on the investment with a direct impact on product availability for the public.

“Therefore, we allocated capex to add up on items availability, infrastructure, and some more delivery fleets,” he told DailySocial.

The same phenomenon occurs at Blibli.com. The marketplace which was established in 2010 experienced a surge in transactions for certain products such as hand sanitizers, health products, and fresh food. In fact, after the government announced a call to work from home, its services experienced a significant jump in transactions in utilities, cooking oil, milk and baby food products.

“Since the first COVID-19 case occurred in China, Blibli has anticipated by compiling several business scenarios with consideration if this case goes to Indonesia,” Blibli.com CEO Kusumo Martanto told DailySocial.

One of the business scenarios includes determining the focus of the business and allocation of funds for business development in 2020. As he said, the call to conduct social distancing is considered to have an effect on how companies allocate marketing spend.

When it was intended for company activities under normal circumstances, this allocation will later be used according to the needs of the latest conditions in Indonesia.

“To date, Blibli has not revised our business targets for 2020,” he said.

Currently, he continued, Blibli is focused on adjusting operational services with the current situation. Some of the strategies are shipping without contact (contactless shipping) where Blibli Express Service (BES) couriers are required to use masks and gloves when sending goods. This procedure is applied to all Blibli logistics partners.

Moreover, they also maintain product availability by applying order limitation procedures at merchant partners. In order to comply with the government’s appeal, this strategy applied to avoid irresponsible parties to hoard goods.

The impact on loan distribution

Also, the WFH and social distancing issue have affected the P2P lending Modalku. The company said some borrowers submit for rescheduled payment. It was due to Modalku’s segment that targets SMEs which had a major impact on the current situation.

“However, we will discuss further to the borrowers for solution related to the sustainability of SMEs businesses,” Modalku’s Co-Founder and CEO, Reynold Wijaya told DailySocial.

The centaur startup is in the middle of the mitigation process, one is to adjust loan services both limit and tenor. Therefore, the more comprehensive selection on the existing potential borrowers.

The team also guarantee the “responsible lending” principal by making assessment towards borrower’s financial ability to pay off their debt.

“In terms of target revision, we’re still on internal discussing since we’re currently focused on supporting SMEs which business has been affected by Covid-19 issue,” he added.

Per March 2020, Modalku has channeled around 1,750,506 loans worth of Rp13.49 trillion. The bad credit (default) is around 1.31 percent.

Back to the equilibrium state

As Mark Ventura Liman Rahardja said as the VP of Investor Relations & Strategy of BRI Ventures, this situation will trigger imbalances between sectors. Some sectors will be affected by the spread of COVID-19, otherwise other sectors will gain profits.

According to his hypothesis, social distancing will automatically change the way people shop. Especially since the government urged people to work from home, public space has no longer crowded. The government also began to close some tourist areas.

“In this case, e-commerce services and online healthcare will rise. On the other hand, it’ll be very hard for OTA players due to travel bans. Fortunately, instead of having only one vertical, some players have other business verticals to put on compensation. Hopefully, one or two quarters, the situation will return to the equilibrium state,” he told DailySocial back then.

Previously, the giant VC company Sequoia Capital had warned that the spread of COVID-19 would have a turbulent effect on business and investment climate in the startup industry. Sequoia even referred to Covid-19 as “The Black Swan in 2020”.

Sequoia warned the entire startup ecosystem and its derivatives to rethink a number of aspects of its business throughout this year. Some of these important aspects are capital management and expenditure, fundraising, sales predictions, talent acquisition, increased productivity, and marketing strategies.

“Even though your business may not directly be affected by this pandemic, you need to anticipate for consumers’ changing spending habits,” Sequoia said.


Original article is in Indonesian, translated by Kristin Siagian

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