There was something different about Yasukane Matsumoto, founder and CEO of Tokyo-based print job outsourcing startup Raksul, as he roamed through the halls at this year’s Tech in Asia Jakarta conference. The “startup” pass that he and other entrepreneurs usually wear around their necks had been replaced with one that said “investor.” It was no mistake.
Raksul, one of the best-funded startups in Japan with more than US$51 million raised to date, is expanding outside of Japan. But Yasukane’s strategy is to invest in – and perhaps eventually acquire – local printing startups in other Asian markets. Indonesia is Raksul’s first target.
“Right now, there’s no ecommerce printing option in Indonesia, but consumers want it,” Yasukane tells Tech in Asia. “Existing players are the physical shops like Kinkos. You have to go pick up your order, and the traffic is so bad in a city like Jakarta. This ‘shop style’ is how people in the US and Japan did their printing in the 80s and 90s.”
Jakarta-based Prinzio is hoping to do for Indonesia what Raksul has been doing for Japan since 2009. It will connect users with local brick-and-mortar printing businesses, allowing them to shop around for the best price, place their order online, and have the order shipped to their door. The service is scheduled to go live in January, with an initial focus on Jakarta.
Raksul will lead a US$400,000 seed investment in Prinzio alongside East Ventures. (Disclosure: East Ventures is also an investor in Tech in Asia).
“We can’t manage a portfolio because we don’t have a branch in Indonesia, so we needed a local VC partner,” he says. “That’s why we’re asking some Japanese VCs that are active in Southeast Asia to help us.”
East Ventures is contributing US$50,000 toward the total, with Raksul dipping into its own funding to provide the rest. The investment gives Raksul a 20 percent stake in Prinzio.
“Obviously the first thing is hiring talent,” Prinzio founder and CEO Riky Tenggara tells Tech in Asia. “Most of the funds will go to operations and promotions.”
Riky was previously a business development manager and the head of sourcing at Lazada before joining aCommerce as a senior product manager. He founded Prinzio last month.
“If Riky wants to exit, we are the first potential buyer,” Yasukane adds. “If he needs to, he can still raise from other investors.”
Not a business card company
Raksul raised US$33.7 million in series C funding this past February and Yasukane says the startup will be profitable by January or February.
Yasukane explains that Raksul will invest in one or two more printing startups in Southeast Asia by the end of 2016. Other markets he’s aiming to enter include the Philippines and Singapore. He’s also keen to eventually expand into India.
Is Raksul gunning for an IPO? Yasukane’s lips were sealed, but he did say that the startup has enough cash now.
Raksul now has more than 100 printing partners in Japan, covering all 47 prefectures – even the remote islands of Okinawa prefecture. Prinzio has already partnered with six in Jakarta.
Yasukane didn’t share revenue figures, but says that the most popular items for printing – contrary to the common misconception that Raksul is a “business card company” – are flyers. More than 60 percent of the startup’s revenue comes from them.
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