Four years ago in 2014, I interviewed Joseph Aditya about his small startup in the post “B2B business in Indonesia is all about TRUST” a B2B E-commerce startup focuses on industrial supplies and targeting over 500,000 businesses in Indonesia. Now the startup already secured a series A funding with $US2.5M and scaled up to 160 staffs. Let’s chat again with Joseph to learn more about his startup journey’s progress
About regular morning talk, any specific interesting story/passion shared? and what is the result of this talk?
We call our regular morning talk as “Secangkir Kopi”, in English it’s translated as “A Cup of Coffee”. It is where one of
Ralalian(Ralali’s employee) share any kind of their interesting story or experience over a cup of coffee. Each session has one topic that is delivered to other Ralalians so that they can learn from it. By this session, Ralalian could know what each other doing in the company, their story, and their experiences.
One of interesting story shared is when one of our team called O2O ( offline to online ) shared their experience when they went to traditional market in Tangerang to educate people about digitalization and online method for sourcing. They met many “unique” personality, such as a folks-y landlady who wear simple t-shirt and a baggy pants, that brought 200million rupiahs in an old bag and took it everywhere. She’s not only bought products from Ralali.com for her store, but also promoting our platforms to anyone in that traditional market. From this story we learn that we shouldn’t judge people from their appearances because we never know what their power are.
Can you elaborate more about “a good people cycle’s environment”? Besides morning talks, how about other team building activities?
Everyone in a startup moves in a fast pace, so we need to build a team that can collaborate for the greater good. We have several activities to increase team bonding, such as Ralali Outing, Ralali Townhall Meeting, Monthly Birthday Ralalian, etc. By these activities, Ralalian could learn to improve and develop our team capabilities and cooperations, and also learn many things to be a better person. We look for people who have the ability to quickly shift gears to get things done and who do not freeze when chaos strikes.
Our team have 5 main values: Respect Others¨ Fast¨ Be Bold¨ Strive for Excellence¨ and Embrace Change . Depending of these values for our daily activities, we try to make Ralalian have the “ownership” of their work. The coolest thing we have in Ralali is Healing Room , it is a place where employees are healed from all the stressful work.
Sometimes, not everything in our plan will be as smooth as toll way, we are getting stuck with the work all the time. In Ralali, we have a team that will help to listen to the core problem and give the solution. Some people might think that the recreational room is the coolest thing in our office. But unfortunately we have a different thought. Just think about it. If employees wentto the recreational room, they would only get for temporary pleasure. We want to fix the core problem, which is their heart and feeling. After those are solved, then they can normally go back to work.
The turn over rate is less than 3%, how about the average rate of the industry or of Indonesian companies if possible? What are some of the key factors of this achievement?
First of all, we recruit Ralalians selectively. We do not hire people just because they have a great resume, but we make sure they are a good fit for the company. We give candidates a culture fit test to measure how their values, beliefs, and behavior fit in with Ralali’s company culture. It is important to have a cultural fit with the company, so that they are more likely to enjoy their time working while at the same time keeping their enthusiasm to grow with the company.
Second, we clearly communicate with all the employees what is going on within the company, both good news and bad news. We make sure all of us understand what we want to achieve for either long term or short term. We utilize an internal social media to help employees keeping updates, so we are on the same page. Lastly, every Ralalian’s achievements have to be appreciated and recognized. As simple as when someone help us, we say thanks. All
employees want to be recognized, especially when it is coming from the leaders directly. For instance, leaders announce when some employees achieve something that impact significantly in the company.
You twitted ” I don t understand the word lose¨ I only understand the word learn. Failure is the mother of all success ” so what was your biggest failure on the startup road? and how did you manage to handle this failure to getting more success?
My biggest failure was too focused on building great business, I forgot that the power of everything lay on their people . I started to learn from it and focusing on building a strong and powerful team to create excellent products.
Ralali organized 50 events in 9 cities, this is a lot for an online company, so far what is the purpose of these events, and any successful case study can be shared?
Was that a lot? Wow thank you, we’re flattered! In our business model (B2B), the main key factor is about trust†. Trust can be build if we are active in many offline events and show our presence amongst businessmen and wholesalers around Indonesia. We focus on helping Indonesia businesses to grow. We understand that businesses need help to find connections†and networks as their key success. With these events, we try to connect companies with the products and technology they needed.
Besides, we want to educate traditional businessmen around Indonesia about technology, financial, and logistics support, so it can help them to run businesses easier. One of our successful story is when a coffee shop owner from Bandung, could get what he needed for his business (coffee supplies and loan support from Ralali’s fintech partner around 1 billion rupiahs) by attending our events about coffee business called Coffee Journey, last December 2017. We also successful in connecting the biggest computer store located in Surabaya, Digiware Store, to a big supplier that can provide micro-processor(s) called Raspberry Pi at least 1000 pcs/month.
Ralali has offices in three cities: Jakarta, Tangerang, Yogyakarta. Why Tangerang but not other big cities such as Surabaya, Bandung, Makassar?
We selectively chose Tangerang because it is an industrial city where there are so many factories and warehouses. Tangerang is also very close from Indonesia’s capital city, Jakarta. Our head office also located in Alam Sutera, Tangerang, it is a sub-urban area that is projected to become the future business district in Indonesia. Ralali.com wanted to take parts in the process of this growing city.
Traffic of Ralali seems going down last few months because target customers – companies are not going to buy much after the end of the year. Do you have any plan to boost the visits?
First, we collaborate with many partners to make a great promotion campaign and develop products. Great campaign can lead to many more visitors and also increase the number of active buyers.
Second, we also creating and participating in many offline events, such as exhibition, talk show, and workshop. It will increases the brand awareness of our platform.
As a start-up that based on technology, we believe that our products are what people looking for. By developing helpful products for our users, combined with great marketing and promotion strategy, we can boost our visitors quickly.
Last time in a 2014 interview with EcomEye, you mentioned that B2B in Indonesia is all about trust: good customer service, local store presence, etc… How is the trust building progress Ralali has done so far?
As I mentioned above, we build trust in both online and offline ways. By online channel, we create relatable features and products that can help businesses in many ways. Great products will lead into trust if they really works well. For the offline channel, we already participate in more than 80% exhibition in Jakarta that can show our credibility amongst Indonesia B2B market.
Ralali Billing new service to fill mobile phone credits and electric tokens is probably serving a unique demand in Indonesia different from other countries in SEA. Can you share more about this to help audiences understand why it’s the highest demand product now?
Indonesia is currently the country with fastest growing internet market in the world with predicted growth at >19% from 2015-2020. With more than 100million internet users, mobile phone credits will be the first thing people are looking for. It become their basic needs, including for businesses. For industries and offices, Ralali Billing is a new way to help them fill phone credits and electric tokens easier.
They can fill several numbers of phone credits, all in one transaction (bulky transaction). Their history of phone number will also be recorded in our system, so it will be much easier to get the next top up.
Any sharing about key factors to scale up a B2B startup to 160 employees and 3M monthly business visitors?
We invest in people, especially who want to give an impact and challenge the status-quo. Generally, if we invest in a talented team and give them the freedom to create, they will be able to innovate and going for extra miles.
Your focus in 2018?
After a long journey to learn about B2B landscape in Indonesia, we are more than glad to announce that this year Ralali.com is developing several features to help businesses run easier. Started as a start-up company, this year we want to launch more vertical categories and planning to be sustainable one, hope we can also be profitable in 2019.