BCN has partnered with the Cloud South East Asia event to interview some of its speakers. In this interview we speak to Rohit Kanwar, CEO of Indonesian social marketplace service Bistip.
Cloud South East Asia: Who are Bistip and how are you shaking up the Indonesian market?
Rohit Kanwar: Bistip is Peer to Peer market place for social delivery through which item seekers and travellers are connected. Bistip travellers can post their trips in the platform visible to everyone and item seekers offer them extra money for bringing them their desired items. Currently Bistip has close to 35,000 customers and more than 100,000 web visits per month.
We are analogous in the logistics industry, like Uber or AirBnB. Social couriers existed in most of the Asian countries before, but they were limited to close friends and families. However, with the adoption of smartphone and cloud based technologies it’s faster and easier to scale and roll out services to more people now.
Indonesians love buying high value goods, which are often expensive to purchase locally; with the help of Bistip they are now accustomed to getting “Anything from anywhere globally ” within Indonesia, at affordable prices. Our mission is reduce overseas travel cost by providing travellers with extra money. We are adding 1000 customers per month, with a revenue over 250K USD and plan to achieve 1 million registered customers by 2017.
How is technology helping you grow and reach new customers?
Our customer acquisition strategy is 100% digitally focussed; we are also using online advertising tools to reach out to new customers. We are actively using digital technology and analytics to reach our target audience and demography based on respective products. We also use social media listening technology to understand the sentiments of customers about our product and services. Modification of products based on customer insight helps us to reach new customers and better serves existing members.
What role does cloud computing play in your business?
All our web and app based platforms are on cloud based technology. Its subscription based model (Pay as you go) helps to scale up capacity in a cost effective way. Our Cloud vendors provide us with features such as managed services, Web Performance dashboards and analytics integrated platforms, which enable us to focus on our Business KPIs instead of day to day network operations. Cloud base technology is a boom to start-ups as it reduces high capex spending on IT infrastructure.
How do you think established, global technology vendors are supporting start-up companies in Indonesia?
Indonesia currently has 70 million smartphones and more than 100 million Internet users. Jakarta generates more tweets than any other city in the world. There is huge paradigm shift among technology vendors towards Indonesia due to the growing, successful start-up ecosystem in the country. Global technology vendors such as Google, Cloudera, IBM, Microsoft, etc. are showing a keen interest in understanding business requirement for start-ups.
Tech Vendors have dedicated support teams assisting start-up companies with solving their problems. Global technology vendors regularly arrange boot camps, Hackathons and networking seminars in the country in order to support start-ups with fund raising and other mentorship activities. A few technology vendors have venture funds to support start-ups as well. Overall the atmosphere and ecosystem is developing faster than ever before in Indonesia.
What is next for Bistip?
Bistip is coming up with a mobile application, along with new features and services, to reduce the shipping time and provide more security to our customers. It will also have an integrated payment system. Bistip aims to achieve 1 million customers by end of 2017.
Bistip is also exploring the opportunity to start operations in other countries. We have signed two partnerships with Uber in Indonesia, Aramex and are likely to sign a few more with online travel portal and retail stores in the near future. We are also in final level talks with a VC for raising further funds. Hopefully our execution plans will follow our strategy and we can provide our travellers with more benefits and our buyers with a better service.