Indonesia's Warung Pintar – digitising street kiosks and vendors

Warung Pintar is on a mission to digitise street vendors and roadside kiosks. The Indonesian startup helps revamp their stores with a bright yellow designed kiosk, and connects them with technology that includes a digital point-of-sale system, free Wi-Fi, and LCD screen. The company also provide power bank chargers — essentially for ride-hailing Go-Jek and Grab drivers who hang around kiosks for a battery charge and a meal. 

The only upfront fee for the vendor is $5,000, which covers the cost of a new prefab kiosk. The startup subsidises the technology upgrades and plans to monetise it down the road — potentially by connecting vendors with financial service providers or tapping into ecommerce.

The venture was born out of East Ventures, an early stage investor in Indonesia. When the company renovated its Jakarta office in 2017, a local street vendor was concerned that the new building would dwarf his cart and kill his business. So, East Ventures offered to renovate it. Soon, the vendor’s revenue grew fivefold, and management realised they might have stumbled upon something. 

Warung Pintar has more than 1,000 kiosks — and wants to grow to 5,000 within the next year. The initial focus is Jakarta, but there are plans to expand across Indonesia — a country with 264 million people. 

Indonesia’s retail economy remains largely traditional, and informal traders, such as kiosks and food carts, contribute close to 70% of total retail sales.  In the capital, Jakarta, 60,000 informal street food carts provide cheap meals to hungry consumers on the go.  

Warung Pintar is one of several Indonesian tech companies competing to digitise Indonesia’s informal trade. The country’s ecommerce giant Bukalapak, has over 2 million mom-and-pop stores on its platform.

Image source: Techcrunch

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