Four years ago, I interviewed Joseph Aditya sharing his small startup Ralali: “B2B business in Indonesia is all about TRUST”. Ralali is a B2B E-commerce startup focusing on industrial supplies. The B2B startup’s 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) can share any of their interesting story over a cup of coffee. Each session has one topic delivered to other Ralalians so that they can learn from it. Via this session, Ralalian could know what each other is doing in the company, others’ stories and experiences.
An O2O team member shared her experience in a traditional market at Tangerang. She went there to educate people about digitalization and online method for sourcing. She met many “unique” personality, such as a folks-y landlady who wear simple t-shirt and a baggy pants. That casual lady brought 200 million rupiahs in an old bag and took it everywhere. She does not only buy products from Ralali for her store, but also promote our platform to everyone 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 on “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 our team capability and cooperation. They can 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 strike.
Our team have 5 main values: Respect Others¨ Fast¨ Be Bold¨ Strive for Excellence¨ and Embrace Change . From these values for our daily activities, we try to make Ralalian have the “ownership” of their work. The coolest thing of Ralali is Healing Room, a place where employees are healed from all the stressful work.
Sometimes, not everything in our plan will be as smooth as tollway, 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 went to the recreational room, they would only get 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 to Ralali’s 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 keep their enthusiasm growing with the company.
Secondly, we communicate with all the employees what’s going on within the company, both good 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 the recognition comes from the leaders . For example, leaders announce when some employees achieve somethings impacting 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 . Gradually, I started to learn from this. And now I’m 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†. We can build trust, if we are active in many offline events. This is to 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 network, as these things are their key success. With these events, we try to connect companies with the products and technology they need.
Besides, we want to educate traditional businessmen on technology, financial, and logistics knowledge. So these can help them to run businesses easier. One of our successful stories: 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 event about coffee business. That event called Coffee Journey, last December 2017. We’re also successful in connecting the biggest computer store located in Surabaya, Digiware Store, to a big supplier. That supplier can provide micro-processor(s) called Raspberry Pi for 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 with so many factories and warehouses. Tangerang is also very close from Indonesia’s capital city, Jakarta. Our head office is also located in Alam Sutera, Tangerang. This is a sub-urban area planned to become the future business district in Indonesia. Ralali.com wanted to take parts in 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 great promotion campaign and products. Great campaign can lead to many more visitors and also increase the number of active buyers.
Second, we’re also creating and participating in many offline events, such as exhibitions, talk shows, and workshops. It will increases the brand awareness of our platform.
As a start-up based on technology, we believe that our products are what people looking for. By developing helpful products for our users, together 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 take part in more than 80% exhibition in Jakarta. These mentioned activities 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?
Ralali Billing new service to fill mobile phone credits and electric tokens is probably serving a unique demand in Indonesia. This demand is different from other countries in SEA. Can you share more about this service to help audience understand why it’s the highest demand product now?
Indonesia is currently the country with the fastest growing internet rate in the world. “The predicted growth is more than 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 an easier new way to help them fill phone credits and electric tokens.
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 go 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 plan to be a sustainable one, hope we can also be profitable in 2019.
Minh Buii (Minz) @ EcomEye interviews top founders/investors/experts to share their insights about How to scale up a startup/raise fund/build a team/expand to a new market. Minh also writes his own growth-hacking thought on How a retailer goes ecommerce, execute O2O strategy, boosting traffic to a website/app, improving conversion rate & online revenue from his hands-on skills (strategic positioning, SEO, social media, content marketing) in different startups and corporates,… All about Growth-Hacking eCommerce in Southeast Asia