We’re only in the first week of January, but already Southeast Asia has seen its first merger of significance. Female-focused e-commerce players Moxy, which is present in Thailand and Indonesia, and Bilna, an Indonesian startup from ex-Groupon Indonesia founders, have joined forces to take on opportunities in Southeast Asia, a growing tech region that’s home to more than 600 million people.
Bilna, which has raised two rounds of undisclosed funding from the likes of East Ventures, Golden Gate Ventures, Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin and Cyberagent Ventures, started out selling baby and toddler products but expanded to cover other family products. Moxy, meanwhile, began with a focus on fashion but widened to cover other verticals, including mom and baby.
There’s no publicly disclosed valuation for the deal or the joint entity — which will be named MoxyBilna — but the companies claim it is “one of Southeast Asia’s largest e-commerce M&A events of its kind to date.” That may be true because, to this point at least, there hasn’t been massive consolidation in Southeast Asia e-commerce, but it could be a sign of things to come as bigger players like Rocket Internet-backed Lazada and Zalora — which have collectively raised over $1 billion from investors — and Indonesia’s well-backed Matahari Mall, heap pressure on smaller competitors.
That’s not the angle that Jérémy Fichet, Moxy’s CEO and now Group CEO of MoxyBilna, is taking though.
Fichet explained that Moxy, which is the result of an acquisition itself, was looking at funding options to boost its presence in Indonesia last year when it came upon the idea of teaming up with Bilna. In turn, Bilna expressed an interest and today’s announcement was thus the product of six months of discussions and collaboration.
Rather than viewing Rocket Internet businesses, SoftBank-backed Tokopedia and others as competition, Fichet believes Moxy Bilna is furrowing its own path and focused on women.
“We want to build the best e-commerce site for women,” he told TechCrunch in an interview. “That’s very different to others. Many are focused on the whole population, but we have a very specific demographic in mind.”
Right now, MoxyBilna is present in Indonesia and Thailand, but Fichet said there are plans to move into other parts of Southeast Asia, with Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines the most likely immediate moves. Acquisitions could be a route into making those expansions.
“If someone built something very strong in a country, why not join forces and work together? We’ll be looking at [expansion options] over the coming months,” Fichet said.
More immediately though, MoxyBilna plans to integrate the two business into a single, united one, including one website, rather than keeping them standalone.