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Dealoka: Behind the Scenes

It is not even news anymore that, Ideabox alumnus Dealoka, became the first startup funded by SB ISAT Fund. Yes, Dealoka sealed an undisclosed Series A Funding from SB ISAT Fund (Collaboration between Japan’s SoftBank and Indosat).

Dealoka is a mobile marketing platform with a fresh way to introduce deals and promotion done through location-based services. Dealoka helps merchants advertise their business to customers, right when they are in the doorstep.

The team has been on a rampage lately. With promotion on their Facebook page, email marketing, and several others, Dealoka extends its partnership and customer acquisition reach. Famously partnered with blitzmegaplex, Wendy’s, Giant, and Baskin Robbins, Dealoka continues to expand their net down to the local restaurants.

In an interview with SD Asia, we catch a better glimpse of how Sidnei (CEO) and his team concocted the whole engine behind the growth of Dealoka, along with his two cents on the startup scene in Indonesia


The Founding Lineup

Sidnei, Kevin, and Jeff founded the team. Sidnei, a Master in CS and Engineering from Australia looks after the engineering, development, and strategy. Kevin (CMO) with Economics and Finance background took the spear of all aspects of business operations as well as sales and marketing execution. And finally Jeff (COO), also with a computer science background, leading the technical operations side and maintains the customer service management.

Sidnei originally have known Jeff since the time back at Sydney University together as undergrads. However, with Kevin, he have known Kevin from previous business ventures here in Indonesia.

[caption id="attachment_1103" align="aligncenter" width="650"] Dealoka at Work - see if you can spot famous people there! (photo source: Dealoka Blog)[/caption]

Even though Sidnei possesses strong technical and engineering background, he enjoy various aspects of running a business. Starting from the development side, developing code, thinking about marketing ideas, brainstorming ways for people to get involved with Dealoka’s product and business, as well as product engagement are manned by Sidnei. From there, he and Kevin orchestrate the general engine on growth and market awareness, following up with Kevin managing the non technical aspects of implementing the strategy. Finally, Jeff finishes the loop with operation management. Jeff ensures that everything is ticking over nice and well.

One among some unique facts about this team is that the team is currently consists of people who work from across Indonesia, Australia, and the Philippines.

The Founding Story of Dealoka

The founding team came across a finding where there is a massive amount of offline business lacking online presence, no affordability to create their own website, in no possession of the technical ability to go online, or the fact that the store itself is not suited for online purchasing (such as restaurants). The team wanted to harness the strength of online presence to help the public finds these stores whilst giving a means of incoming transactions that matter to the business. That way, the customers will have the awareness to come into the store and transact inside the store. The goal is to allow businesses to advertise to the potential customers surrounding the area and get them coming through the doors.

[caption id="attachment_1104" align="aligncenter" width="650"] Dealoka at Customer Event (photo source: Dealoka Blog)[/caption]

The team did not reveal about how exactly the business are operated. But one thing they focused is on advertising. Dealoka follows the Cost per Action model where a successful action of transaction at the merchant results as a paid percentage.

In summation, Dealoka provides various advantages for consumers: 1) Provide users with location aware coupons for products and services, so that the nearest offers and products are visible to users, 2) provide users with an easy way to claim and validate an offer or discount easily on a merchant site, and 3) users can easily browse offers that are most interesting to them personally with recommendation and curation from or side. Not only that, Dealoka also stresses the value for merchants: 1) Provide merchants with deep analytics on the demographics of the customers (location, age, group, gender, etc.) whilst also protecting individual privacy, and 2) provide merchants with information regarding their campaigns and how well their campaigns are performing over a period of time.

Experience on Indonesia

Sidnei also shared about what it feels like operating in Indonesia along with the challenges. He said that the competitors here in Indonesia are not just locals but also come from abroad. Startups from Malaysia and Singapore are also becoming Dealoka’s competitor due to the close proximity and the similarity of the culture. He also added that the neighboring countries have a god general understanding of Indonesia, resulting in a good performance from them residing here in Indonesia.

Sidnei mentioned that the difficult part of operating in Indonesia is that even though the startup scene is heating up, many people from outside of the startup ecosystem still do not realize what this is all about. This includes engineers and potential talents, which are difficult to attract. Convincing top engineers from top universities to join a smaller yet growing company over joining a larger and more well-known businesses such as banks or telco companies. It is not like how it would have been in the US where joining startup is considered respectful, and even “cool”.

He finally added that the biggest challenge faced while operating in Indonesia is education. When you are developing some endeavor that is new, you have to undergo an educational process for your customer, which is the hardest part. In a more developed countries, you can skip the part of showing people what a touch screen is. But in Indonesia, the challenges are you have to educate businesses and merchants to interact with our product, because some of the staffs have never seen or interact with a touch screen before.

Future for Dealoka

As an entrepreneur, Sidnei can see himself working on the things that he love doing. He don’t mind of whether it is in the tech industry or outside, so long as he can experience that happiest times where his work does not feel like work and where he does not have to find the motivation to wake up in the morning to go full throttle on whatever going next. Sidnei concluded with “If in personal capacity I can do that, whether it’s in the tech industry or not, I will be happy and my goal is ultimately to be happy with what I do day to day. Whether it’s tomorrow or in five years time.”

As for Dealoka, Sidnei won’t reveal much about what the upcoming features or goals that the team has in mind. But the dream goal is to build an engaging mobile advertising platform that people will adore instead of running away from. Gone are the intrusive ads and embrace the ads that people will actually enjoy receiving and interacting.

[caption id="attachment_1106" align="aligncenter" width="650"] Dealoka - New Office (photo: Dealoka Blog)[/caption]



Finally, Sidnei gave a thoughtful advice for young and aspiring entrepreneurs to enjoy the journey. He encourages for all entrepreneurs to enjoy the good and bad things that come along with the journey, with zero regard for the money. He carved a good example where usually all that people can see on the surface is only the tip of the iceberg, where the actual hard work is hidden below the resounding success. If it is just for the money, and unless you are one of the handsomely lucky or awesome people who can make it on the first try, the path is usually are steep and difficult. From there, you might be strayed and doing the opposite of making the kind of money you would in a corporate managerial or director position. Be ready for lots and lots of pain, be ready to pick yourself up when things don’t work out as planned, rise from the people who will try to put you down, and finally, know who and when to listen to advice.


About Ideabox

Ideabox is a tech business incubator powered by Indosat in partnership with Kejora and supported by Ooredoo Group.We focus our investments on early stage startups related to telecommunication, media and technology sectors.We run 120 days acceleration program to bring startups from ideas to awesome product.

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About Dealoka

Dealoka is a complete o2o platform that integrates digital wallet payments, in-store digital voucher validation, airtime topups, bill payments, movie & transport tickets all at the touch of a button.Leader: Sidnei Budiman

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