Moxy and Bilna join forces in high-profile regional ecommerce mergerJanuari 6, 2016
It’s an unprecedented merger event in Southeast Asia’s ecommerce history: Moxy, the women-focused ecommerce site with roots in Thailand today announced its fusion with Indonesian mom and baby products site Bilna.
The resulting venture will go by the name of MoxyBilna. The strategic move will likely benefit both companies as they make a play to own the women-focused online shopping experience in Southeast Asia.
The MoxyBilna Group will be led by Jérémy Fichet as CEO. Prior to the merger, he was the CEO of Moxy Group. Ferry Tenka, co-founder and former CEO of Bilna, will take on the role as MoxyBilna Group’s executive chairman and in addition heads up the company’s Indonesia operations. Eka Himawan, Bilna co-founder along with Ferry, is now executive vice chairman and MoxyBilna Group CFO.
Neither team is taking a clear lead over the other in this merger, according to Jérémy. “As we strongly believe in synergies between both companies, we kept a fair balance in decision making power,” he explains.
What each brings to the table
It’s obvious that there’s good chemistry between the two companies because they share a vision, namely to stand out in an increasingly crowded ecommerce market by addressing female shoppers with an appealing brand and product range tailored to their lifestyle.
Beyond that, the companies also complement each other well, and may actually depend on each other to succeed.
Moxy originated in Thailand and is fairly new to Indonesia, having entered in June 2015. Bilna has operated in Indonesia since 2012, where it’s considered the leading player in mom and baby products. While this is the same strength Moxy has in Thailand, it would have been hard to get around Bilna in Indonesia given the latter’s deeper experience in the local market.
“The fact that they were number one in mothers and babies in Indonesia was hard to pass up,” Shannon Kalayanamitr admits. Shannon is the original founder of Moxy and now serves as the group’s CMO. Another key asset Bilna brings into the MoxyBilna family is its own warehouse, she adds.
For Bilna, in turn, a regional play all of a sudden becomes much more accessible. Jérémy is an ecommerce veteran and, before joining Moxy, led ecommerce company Cdiscount in Thailand. He helped facilitate its parent company’s IPO during that time.
Each company brings its set of backers into the union. Moxy, as part of the Ardent Capital family, has strong relations with Indonesian conglomerate Sinar Mas. Ardent and Sinar Mas are strategic partners on a number of ventures.
Bilna has had investments from CyberAgent and EastVentures – both VC firms with years of experience across Southeast Asia and a number of ecommerce companies under their wings. It’s also rumored that Eduardo Saverin owns a stake in Bilna. He purportedly took an interest in the company because his wife – she’s Indonesian – is a fan. Saverin’s name was however not mentioned on record in the company’s seed funding announcement.
How Moxy met Bilna
The ecommerce world in Southeast Asia is fairly tight-knit, so it’s no surprise Bilna and Moxy have been aware of each other for a while. Things started to heat up midway through last year, according to Jérémy. That would coincide with the time Moxy launched in Indonesia. A possible merger must have been on the horizon all along.
“We started to meet […] and went through a lot of fun and hard working time to make sure the alchemy will be amazing,” Jérémy describes the courting process.
Moxy is in fact no stranger to mergers and acquisitions, itself being the result of the merger and acquisition of several Thai ecommerce companies.
Future mergers and acquisitions are entirely possible as part of MoxyBilna’s growth strategy.
“We have now grown successfully through our third merger and acquisition,” Jérémy says. “ And this is definitely a path we are interested to take [a few] more times while expanding.”
For 2016, he adds, MoxyBilna has its eyes set on entering a third country, though “only after we perfect the model we have now for total acceleration and expansion.” He did not share which country the startup plans to target next.
What women want
MoxyBilna, according to the company, will offer all kinds of product categories related to female lifestyle: beauty, electronics, mom & baby, fashion accessories, health & sports, home appliances and décor, and pets.
The target market is huge. The size of the ecommerce market in Southeast Asia was pegged at US$7 billion in 2013 and will likely grow exponentially over the next years. Several factors are coming together in the region: a rising middle class with more spending power, increasingly more affordable smartphones, as well as more efficient payment mechanisms and logistics.
Choosing to specifically target women in Southeast Asia is not to be understood as a limitation. Regionally, women are driving the growth of online shopping. Women also often influence the purchase decisions of household goods and shop for themselves as well as their family and friends.
MoxyBilna’s approach in reaching out to these women and turning them into online shoppers lies in content marketing and social commerce. “We strongly believe [this] is key for building a successful ecommerce company,” Jérémy says. “Fluidity in helping female consumers with inspiration and content, and connecting them through community are main themes this year and going forward.”
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