Jakarta, 23 November 2020 — Culinary startup specializing in rice bowls Mangkokku announced on Monday its first external and institutional funding of US$ 2mn from Indonesia-focused venture capital firm Alpha JWC Ventures.
Staying true to their name which means ‘my bowl’ in Bahasa Indonesia, Mangkokku is a culinary startup that offers professional chef-level dishes in the form of rice bowls at affordable prices. Though rice bowl itself is a Japanese concept, Mangkokku tweaks its dishes to Indonesian taste and uses local ingredients. At present, the company has 12 items priced between IDR 19k to IDR 54k on its menu, including its top-selling Endog with Burger Slice (Egg and Burger Slice Bowl) and Beef with Sambal Korek Bawang Bone Marrow (Bone Marrow and Sambal Bowl).
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The company was founded in 2019 by Indonesian Masterchef judge Arnold Poernomo and seasoned businessman Randy Kartadinata in collaboration with serial F&B entrepreneurs Gibran Rakabuming and Kaesang Pangarep, who also happen to be the sons of Jokowi, the President of Indonesia. While the latter two take more advisory roles, Arnold spearheads Mangkokku’s research and development and Randy handles the business and expansion of the company as its Chief Executive Officer. Between the four founders, they have founded and successfully built at least 12 F&B brands in Indonesia and Australia, including Gioi Jakarta and Surabaya, KOI Dessert Bar Sydney, and traditional pancake chain Markobar.
Mangkokku currently operates 22 branches in the Greater Jakarta area and soon Surabaya. Besides the artistic sit-in area, each branch displays an open kitchen set up to let customers see the safety and cleanliness of Mangkokku’s cooking process. With the fresh investment, Mangkkokku is aiming to reach 30 branches by the end of 2020 and more than 75 by 2021.
“Our passion for local food is what started the company, and we believe that the core of Mangkokku lies in the superiority of our dishes and continuous innovation,” Arnold says. “But we are also building a company with a global mindset: that the only way we can grow fast, right, sustainably, is by providing the best options at affordable prices and maintain a standardized process in every single dish we serve. That’s why we operate all of our branches and apply technology-enhanced cooking process to maintain product quality and consistency.”
Weathering the pandemic and the vision ahead
Even during the pandemic, Mangkokku has been resilient which proved its product market fit. Not only has it managed to shift its product and marketing strategy to cater to changing customer behavior and demand, Mangkokku also has grown rapidly, especially since Q3/2020.
“On our own, Mangkkokku is able to serve 400 to 600 bowls per branch on a daily basis, but that’s not enough. We want to create something great, something bigger than our previous endeavors,” Randy says. “The dream is to become Indonesia’s largest F&B group targeted to the mass market and build our own ecosystem of multiple brands and culinary institutions. Not only that, we also want to be the best culinary company in terms of local and regional scalability, as well as operations excellence. That’s why we take this startup route and partner with Alpha JWC Ventures.”
As a starter, MangkokKu is planning to step beyond rice bowls next year, starting with beverages, dessert and packaged sambal (chili sauce). From there, it plans to roll out other types of dishes to become an end-to-end culinary solution for its customers.
“We see that F&B continues to be an attractive sector that could benefit from technology enablement and venture capital investments. Mangkokku clearly has shown a strong traction even during pandemic, which proves its product-market fit. Our support on capital, know-how, and resources is to help the company scale faster and evolve from what’s already good to a great, lasting business,” says Eko Kurniadi, Partner at Alpha JWC Ventures. “We are intrigued with not only how the founders built a strong brand in a short timeframe, but also with their bigger plan for the organization overall. We are excited to work with Mangkokku team to achieve their goals: serving all types of mass market segments with quality foods and becoming one of the most valuable F&B groups in the country, and eventually in the region.”