Indonesian ‘new retail’ coffee chain Kopi Kenangan has raised $109 million in a Series B round led by Sequoia Capital India. Local existing investor Alpha JWC Ventures also participated in the round, alongside new backers including Singaporean sovereign fund GIC, US-based B Capital, Hong Kong’s Horizons Ventures, Chinese internet company Kunlun, and Belgian firms Sofina and Verlinvest.
The Jakarta-based startup said in a statement that it plans to use the funds to launch new products, enhance its tech base, and expand its operations in its native Indonesia.
It also said it plans to open stores in Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines after the Covid-19 pandemic has abated.
Facebook co-founder on board
As part of the deal, Facebook co-founder and B Capital founding partner Eduardo Saverin will join the startup’s board of directors. “I am looking forward to [building] a global brand celebrating Indonesian and Southeast Asian flavors,” he said.
Rohit Agarwal, vice president at Sequoia India, said that the startup “has built a very authentic and compelling identity among millions of Indonesians.”
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“We are looking forward to bringing the same delightful experience and tasty products in more categories and formats as the business expands into newer markets,” he added.
Kopi Kenangan launched in 2017 offering grab-and-go, Indonesian-style coffee, seeking to exploit a price point niche between ultra-cheap, ultra-local vendors and premium imported brands such as Starbucks.
It has since diversified its menu from local favorites such as es kopi (“iced coffee” in Indonesian, typically served strong with heavily sweetened milk) to include popular regional options, such as boba (Taiwanese bubble tea) and Thai-style milk tea and coffee.
Primarily targeting Indonesia’s large ‘Millennial’ market, Kopi Kenangan operates 324 outlets across the country – many of them located in shopping malls – and says its mobile app, which it claims is among the most downloaded and highly rated in the F&B segment, has over a million customers.
Users can order through the app and pick up their beverage at one of the startup’s kiosks, or have it delivered to their home or workplace.
This online-to-offline ‘new retail’ approach to coffee foodservice echoes a trend that has already been playing out for some time in regional neighbor China.
Startups like Luckin Coffee, as well as foreign industry stalwarts like Starbucks and Tim Hortons, have been turning to tech in order to increase their footprint in China’s rapidly growing coffee market.
In-app ordering and payments, automated and robotic in-store service, and meat and dairy alternatives are fast becoming the norm for China’s coffee drinkers.
The same technologies are turning up in Indonesia’s fast-serve coffee sector, spearheaded by tech-savvy startups like Kopi Kenangan, its Temasek and East Ventures-backed rival Fore Coffee, and a recent entrant from German venture builder Rocket Internet – Flash Coffee.
Kopi Kenangan co-founder and CEO Edward Tirtanata thinks this blending of offline and online engagement, and openness to tech-based solutions, will be critical as Asia’s F&B sector picks itself up from the initial shock caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The hospitality industry is facing the biggest existential crisis of our generation. It’s hard to tell when the sector will return to normal but when it does, it will look very different,” he said.
“We are adapting quickly to the challenge through contactless commerce and uncompromising hygiene standards throughout our stores.”
The Series B investment – one of the largest ever in Southeast Asia’s consumer tech space – in Kopi Kenangan comes just a matter of months after it closed an extended, $20 million-plus Series A raise in December.
That funding – also led by Sequoia – saw a number of celebrity investors come on board, including Arrive, the VC arm of rapper Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label; Serena Ventures, tennis ace Serena Williams’ venture firm; and US basketball star Caris LeVert.
Jonathan Neman, co-founder and CEO of US salad bowl chain Sweetgreen, also participated in the Series A round.
What do you think of the coffee foodservice funding boom in Asia? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org