Mapan’s services help Indonesian low-income users pay for goods and services –

Mapan’s team, with CEO Ardelia Apti at the front

In Indonesia, arisans traditionally run savings and credit associations (RSCA) that allow groups of people, mainly women, to save and borrow money together. mapan has digitized that concept and turned it into a service that allows users, often women, to pay for goods and services. The company announced today that it has raised a $15 million Series A. The round was co-led by Patamar Capital and PT Astra Digital Internasional, a subsidiary of the conglomerate PT Astra International Tbk (aka Astra International).

The round included participation from BRI Ventures, SMDV, Blibli, Prasetia Dwidharma, Flourish Ventures and 500 Global.

Mapan says it helps people access financial services in a country where 51% of adults do not have a bank account, or do not have access to a bank account. Mapan is currently available in Java, Bali, Sumatera, Nusa Tenggara and Sulawesi, with plans to expand to the rest of Indonesia. It currently claims over three million members.

The new capital will be used to expand Mapan’s product portfolio and partner with more suppliers for its marketplace of reseller goods. It also wants to make Mapan Arisan available to 10 million households in Indonesia by 2026.

Mapan, which means ‘stable’ in Bahasa Indonesian, was founded in 2009. The company recently appointed Ardelia Apti as its CEO. Before joining Mapan, Apti spent five years at Gojek as part of the GoTo Group, where she helped establish Swadaya, the benefits program for Gojek drivers, and also managed GoPay’s offline payments. Before that, she was country director for AI company Element, Inc. and a McKinsey consultant.

At the age of 13, the startup is one of the first of a growing and diverse number of technology companies targeting Indonesians and SMEs who struggle to access traditional financial services. A few of the others has covered include GajiGesa, the wage earner startup; Super, a social commerce startup for rural areas; Jeff, who builds alternative scoring and other fintech products for Southeast Asia; SME working capital platform KoinWorks; and InfraDigital to digitize cash tuition payments for schools.

Apti told that Mapan’s founding team saw that “many existing commercial, income, and financial solutions do not benefit low-income communities. They require more effort and expense to get the goods they want in a way that is affordable to them. Likewise, there are ways to earn income, many of which require time, capital and expertise that are difficult to access for this target market, especially women.”

When it was founded, Mapan was known as RUMA and enabled warungs, or small convenience stores, in rural areas to become bill and phone loan sellers. Apti said the company focused on Mapan Arisan and launched the app in 2015 because it saw how many arisans were being used by its target audience and wanted to digitize the concept.

The company has also introduced other products, including a bill payment feature called Mapan Pulsa and Mapan Mart, a platform where resellers can select consumer products from Mapan’s marketplace or buy for themselves.

Mapan Arisan groups must have at least five members and be used for goods and services including kitchenware, electronics and furniture worth about 200,000 IDR (or about $13.48 USD) to 3 million IDR (about $200 USD), instead of cash. Apti said that “based on our research, social fintech with such a purpose is more needed by the low-income community” and gives them the motivation to complete a genesis process.

Leaders of Mapan Arisan groups, called Mitra Usaha Mapan, or MUM, use the app to determine Arisans’ shuffle dates, or when each member gets their goods or services. Apti said the winner of each lottery is determined through an algorithm to ensure fairness.

MUMs also get benefits, including cashback commissions based on the total trades or group value at the end of the Arisan and a loyalty program that can be redeemed for a variety of benefits, including e-wallet credits, gold bars, motorcycles, various savings and house down payments. They also help Mapan grow by selling its members to the company’s other departments. Apti said the company has 250,000 MUMs as of 2009.

Mapan earns money from the difference between the selling prices and the purchase price of the supplier. Apti said that providing large-scale access to middle- to low-income communities in a cost-effective manner compared to their traditional channels allows Mapan to offer better prices.

In a prepared statement, Patamar Capital partner Dondi Hananto said, “Arisan’s concept has been at the heart of Indonesian culture for many years, and by digitizing it, Mapan brought scalability to the age-old practice.”

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