Grady Laksmono of Moka on supporting small businesses: Startup Stories

Moka provides an end-to-end solution to help entrepreneurs scale up their businesses.

Moka is arguably the market leader in Indonesia’s point of sale (POS) software development sector. Founded in 2014 by Haryanto Tanjo and Grady Laksmono, Moka helps entrepreneurs throughout Indonesia with managing their operations so they can scale up their business faster and more smoothly.

Moka’s app comes with various features—financial reports, an invoicing system, employee management, multi-outlet monitoring, customizable sales promotional programs, and more.

In September 2018, the company raised USD 24 million in Series B funding round led by Sequoia India. According to Crunchbase, Moka has raised a total of USD 36.9 million over five rounds so far. Moka acquired Indian retail analytics company GetFocus last year in order to expand its tech capacity and accelerate the company’s growth. Going forward, Moka is set to develop even more services to provide an end-to-end solution for entrepreneurs, especially those of small and medium business.

For this week’s Startup Stories, KrASIA sat down with co-founder and CTO Grady Laksmono to find out more about the story behind Moka and its upcoming plans.

Grady Laksmono, co-founder & CTO of Moka

KrASIA (Kr): Please tell us how you delved into entrepreneurship and started Moka?

Grady Laksmono (L): Moka isn’t my first gig in entrepreneurship. Years ago, when I was working in Silicon Valley, I founded a startup named True RSVP, which won an award at the VentureBeat conference. The company did not do well, but it gave me valuable experience and lessons that really helped me in my next venture.

I was part of a small community of Indonesians who were studying or working in the United States, and that’s how I met my partner, Haryanto. In 2014, the e-commerce sector was starting to take off in Indonesia, and we realized that we needed to do something. We came up with the idea to create a system to help small entrepreneurs grow their business by simplifying their operations and administration process, as most SMEs are running their businesses manually using pen and paper. This is time-consuming and requires high accuracy, especially if they have multiple stores with complex transaction details. With technology, entrepreneurs can save so much time and use it to develop new innovations for their products or services so the business can grow faster.

Kr: Please tell us about Moka’s growth so far.

L: We currently have 18,000 merchants in 200 cities in Indonesia, and 500 team members in Jakarta, Singapore, and Bangalore. Our service is broadening beyond POS systems, as we also have a loyalty program, an ingredient management program, and a client relationship management program. We have Moka Connect, a marketplace app that is integrated with Moka back-office programs such as accounting or human resources software. We also have Moka Capital to channel loans for merchant partners starting from IDR 10 million to 2 billion (USD 690 to 137,800), in collaboration with our fintech partners—KoinWorks, Taralite, and Modalku.

Kr: What benefits do merchants get after adopting Moka’s system?

L: There are three main things. First, they can manage all administrative-related activities, from billing and order processing to recording and monitoring sales much more efficiently, so there is no need to spend days to recap notes, especially if they have multiple shops. Then, they can learn about customer preferences and behavior so they can stock goods according to customer’s needs, which is very important, especially for SMEs. Finally, they will have much better inventory management to avoid possible fraud.

Kr: How important is it for you to support SMEs?

L: SMEs are the backbone of Indonesia’s economy. They are able to absorb the workforce so they can help redistribute income. So from the beginning, Moka’s mission has been to help to encourage the productivity of MSMEs so they can scale up their business in the long run.

Kr: How do you sell Moka’s system to SMEs?

L: As we want to assist SMEs as their businesses grow, we provide modular features that are adjustable for merchant’s needs. That being said, they don’t need to pay for expensive systems up front. If they have a small business, they can start with the basic POS system and add more features like a loyalty program or table management as their business expands. For micro businesses, they can even start with Moka’s payment aggregator to accept various mobile payment methods. So the system is customizable and can be used for all types of businesses.

We also regularly hold workshops in business education for communities and SMEs in various cities in Indonesia. Moka is currently building a Moka Learning Hub that is intended to be a center for merchant partners to share knowledge and inspiration through offline and online activities.

Kr: What’s next for Moka?

L: We have a lot of new initiatives that focus on three things: expand our merchant network, as our target is to work with 50,000 merchants by the end of the year; renew and upgrade services and products to meet the needs of both SMEs and larger businesses; finally, we are enlarging our team as we’re looking for individuals who share Moka’s passion for supporting small businesses in the country.

This article is part of KrASIA’s “Startup Stories” series, where the writers of KrASIA speak with founders of tech companies in Southeast Asia.