The 28th Hour Deal: Luck is when preparation meets opportunity

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Friends, probably most of you that have been closely following our journey knew already, that I & Leon spent 2 years of our time, trying to find an investor that is willing to help us build-up the foundation of our dream: Tokopedia.

If that first stage of investment needs 2 years of waiting and struggling, now our second stage only needs 2 days of meetings and lunches with people we’ve never met. Imagine how and why that is possible.

A couple of months ago, I got an email from Willson Cuaca, the founder of xSAGO. he stated his interest in knowing the people behind Tokopedia more. I replied that email showing our gladness and interest of the offer to get to know the fellow Internet Business players.

Tuesday, January 26th 2010

At 10 AM, I got another email from Willson. He and a couple of friends from Singapore and Japan were sightseeing in Jakarta. They would like to do some catch-ups with some internet startups in Indonesia. Of course we didn’t wanna waste that chance, so then we arranged the meeting.

Around 2 PM, Willson and the gang were already in our office. Along with the gang, there are a couple of interesting names:

Willson Cuaca
Founder of xSAGO, with lots of experiences in networking and mobile applications development. Foyage is one of them.

Batara Eto
Indonesian-born Japanese, known as one of the co-founder and ex-CTO of Mixi.jp, the #1 Japanese social networking site, with over 26 million members. He was the only developer of that site in the beginning.

Taiga Matsuyama
A very well-known Japanese in the Internet Business Industry, with more than 10 years of experience in helping & building a lot of startups. Some of them have actually been acquired by Yahoo! Japan, and the rest have even been IPO-ed. At the moment, he is concentrating his investments in more than 20 Internet companies across the globe.

Chandra Tjan
An Indonesian with the background of Finance & Management. He spent most of his time in Indonesia, Penang and Australia, until finally settled in Singapore with his experiences in Marketing & Finance.

Those 4 professionals from different backgrounds are the Managing Partner of East Ventures. One of their main reasons in visiting Jakarta is to find some local startups for partnership deals.

We spent that afternoon for introducing ourselves; Tokopedia and East Ventures at a glance. One main interesting thing from this meeting is that, this was actually the first time that we were given the opportunity to discuss with our investor-to-be in the same frequency and vision with Tokopedia.

Usually, our previous meetings with the investors will end up in a single-monotonous advice, “How old are you? 21? 22? Don’t waste your time. This kind of thing won’t work. Find something else to do”. But this time, our precious meeting was concluded by a piece of gold from Taiga Matsuyama, “I think you’re doing the similar thing with what Batara did 10 years ago”. I mean, wow! The appreciation came from Matsuyama-san himself. It’s almost impossible for me to hold my head and feet still.

Because of the tight schedule, we continued the meeting the day after, during lunch.

Tokopedia & East Ventures

Wednesday, January 27th 2010

This time we cut some slack by having a relaxed meeting during lunch. We had lunch at 12, and we shared about being a startup, both in good times and bad times. I also shared our roadmap and vision for 2010. Just like love at the first sights, these 6 young men finally agreed to talk more on the opportunity to bind themselves together in building Tokopedia. After that, we composed our agreement into the investment plan, and we called the seed-investor of Tokopedia to talk about the deal more thoroughly.

We’re back in our meeting room at around 5, and the serious talk continues. This time, all Tokopedia shareholders were present, and just in an hour time, a deal in principle was made, based on some random brainstorming on our whiteboard. The result was then formed into a MoU, which was signed by all shareholders and investors involved. At this point, both East Ventures and Indonusa Dwitama are now have a principle agreement to become the future shareholders of tokopedia, with me and Leon still in charge on Tokopedia operationally as usual.

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During the lunch before, Batara stated that there is no such thing as luck itself. Luck happens when preparation meets opportunity. So, after 1 year running PT Tokopedia with 5 months of operation, that preparation finally met another opportunity. Yet, we are just feeling so lucky, because not only for the funds that will be enough for the whole 2010, but Tokopedia is also growing up by some credible names joined our BoD. The brainstorming process in the future will get more exciting for sure.

In 28 hours, there has been an alliance formed between 3 countries; Indonesia, Singapore, and Japan, though it’s still in the form of MoU agreement, and we will still have to wait for the official contract document to strengthen this form of strategic alliance, between East Ventures and Tokopedia.

At last, we would like to thank Mr. Victor Fungkong, Yohana Fran, and all involved in PT Indonusa Dwitama that has given us our first opportunity. Thanks to Tokopedia Team for the preparation with such hard works in providing the best product and service for all Tokopediawans; Yusar Chavik Harun, David Harnadi, Widhi Astuti, and our fellow friends; Amlan Samuil Warman, Wirasarjana Rostandy, Hasan Lai. Most importantly, thanks to our future partner with everyone involves; Willson Cuaca, Batara Eto, Taiga Matsuyama, and Chandra Tjan. Thanks for putting your trust in our passion just in 3 meetings that we’re lucky to have.

Now, we are ready to start a new chapter in our journey. Let’s take it to the next level!

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