Textile supply chain platform, Wifkain, announced seed funding led by Insignia Ventures Partners with an undisclosed amount. A number of prominent angel investors participated in this round, including the Atome Financial Indonesia's CEO, Wawan Salum.
The company positioned itself as a pioneer, Wifkain aspires to be the first technology-based platform to meet the needs of the textile supply chain for fashion brands in Indonesia. Through this funding, Wifkain intends to expand its business reach to SMEs and fashion brand owners, increase the number of merchants, and build a team.
On the general note, Wifkain was founded by former banker and fashion entrepreneur Sara Sofyan (CEO), D2C brand entrepreneur Chindera Soewandy, and former Bukalapak's executives Rudy Setyo Hartono (CTO) in 2020.
The Co-founder & CEO, Sara Sofyan said many brands had difficulty finding manufacturing partners due to several factors. In that case, Wifkain provides Manufacturing-as-a-Service (MaaS) services by cooperating with various manufacturers in various specialties, capacities, and locations in Indonesia.
"The platform we built connects sellers and buyers directly, simplify the long supply chain by cutting out intermediaries, the transaction process is cheaper, faster, and low risk," Sara said in her official statement.
Meanwhile, Yinglan Tan, Founding Managing Partner of Insignia Ventures Partners, said that e-commerce and social media make fashion available quickly and easily accessible online. However, the upstream supply chain in Indonesia will remain disconnected and fragmented.
"Thus, Sara and the team at Wifkain are in a strong position to digitize the entire supply chain in the textile industry. They have made significant early-stage progress since launching the platform. We are delighted to be their partner on this journey," he said.
Challenges and target
Sara views the Indonesian textile industry ecosystem from upstream to downstream has not been fully digitized. The process chain is very long, complex, and not transparent as it involves many intermediaries.
Manufacturing companies also have no integrated system for buyers, limiting their opportunities to increase sales. The ordering process can take up to several days. The level of non-fulfillment (unfulfillment rate) of sales can reach 30-50 percent. This situation forces fashion business people and brand owners through a multi-layered chain of processes.
In addition, traditional textile traders who sell offline have limitations in the choice of products which are relatively expensive, the ordering system is not integrated, and there is no product guarantee.
In fact, Indonesia is one of the largest textile markets and manufacturing centers in the world. Its market value is around 40% of the total global fashion industry market of $55 billion according to the Euromonitor report in 2018. The value is projected to grow at 5% CAGR in 2022.
Wifkain seeks to digitize the supply chain, especially for long-tail merchants in the MSME segment, aka merchants with search volumes and relatively low levels of competition. Through the solutions built, Wifkain wants to increase connectivity, transparency and efficiency for the textile industry supply chain
In order to meet supply chain needs in Indonesia, Wifkain will develop order management and inventory management that will allow order confirmation within a few hours, reduce order non-fulfillment rates to less than 5%, increase production process transparency, and provide analytical data such as demand predictions to suppliers.
Since its commercial service in 2020, Wifkain recorded an 11-fold growth in GMV (YoY) and pocketed 150 merchants (textile and factory traders) on the island of Java. The company claims to be able to complete the sourcing process in one day, faster than the standard which generally takes up to three weeks. It guarantees that there is an efficiency of purchasing costs of up to 50%.
On a separate session with DailySocial, Sara revealed that it is not easy to digitize merchants or textile suppliers with long history of conventional operation. One of the obstacles is shown from the development of technology on the platform to accommodate merchant needs.
"[The development of] technology [for the textile market] does not have many benchmarks in the market, therefore, we have to [do] testing properly according to the needs of merchants," Sara added.
Although the textile marketplace is relatively new to the Indonesian market, Sara admitted that Wifkain's business measurement metrics remain the same as the e-commerce model in general, such as Monthly Active User (MAU), Lifetime Value (LTV), and retention rate.
To date, Wifkain merchants are only available in the Java and Bali areas, however, the scope of buyers has reached various locations throughout Indonesia.
–Original article is in Indonesian, translated by Kristin Siagian