Travelling back-and-forth between Jakarta and Melbourne while studying at one of the universities in Australia, buying and bringing stuff for his colleagues and relatives as requested, Willy Ekasalim, stumbled upon an idea on how he could bring his experience to the online world.
Around February last year, he and Doddy Lukito decided to create a website where everyone can share their travel plans and let people who need stuff from other places find them out and ask for help. By bringing stuff for back for others, the travelers also have a chance to earn some money. Together, they founded Bistip and formed a legal entity, PT. Afiliasi Kontenindo Jaya. Few weeks after, a versatile web producer and programmer, Panggi Akadol joined the team.
On March 11, the Bistip was publicly launched. At first, the monetization wasn’t there. “We have tested the idea with our inner circle such as relatives, colleagues, and our closest friends. Honestly, what we thought in that period, we had to launch the product as soon as we can. Other aspects will follow,” Willy explains. “Our mobile site was launched in April,” Panggi adds. In May, after several talks and negotiations, they received an investment round from InvestIdea, one of technology incubators in Indonesia focusing on telecommunications, media, and technology industries. “We had already known each other. That’s why the deal was closed pretty quickly. When reviewing ideas, twenty percent depends on the ideas and eighty percent on the teams’ DNA. Since we invest in the idea, as in our name, we found that Bistip’s idea is distinguished,” says Charles Gandha, a partner at InvestIdea.
In the same month, the Bistip forum and escrow account were introduced. Utilizing the forum, Bistip users (called Bistipers) were able to converse with each other as well as with Bistip team more intensively. They managed to tie up a partnership with rekeningbersama.com to improve user experiences when doing transactions.
In August, their website user interfaces was revamped for the third time since the launch. For Bistipers who wanted to protect their items from loss were also given the benefit of insurance with conversation in their messaging systems as the proof of evidence. “That’s one of the reasons why the systems are very crucial for us. It’s not only for insurance perusal but also for verification when disputes between travelers and item lookers happen,” Willy emphasizes. “We have a standby Community Manager on board to act proactively to minimize the dispute and resolve it as soon as possible if it happens,” he adds. To address such concerns, a feature where more than their 4,000 members can write reviews to help other members before making decisions to do transactions with someone is provided. Aside from that, there are badges “Trusted by Bistip Team” given only to members that the Bistip team knows and trusts. In regards to the items, the team also encourage Bistipers to make sure that they know what exactly the items they entrusted to, ask for permission to open the package and check it thoroughly. Obviously the travelers have the right to say no to illegal stuff.
By now Bistip has provided their users with their own payment method called “Bistip SafePay”. The method, which is available in their messaging systems, accommodates the PayPal platform (for denomination of USD) and BCA Bank Transfer (for denomination of IDR). The amount the requester will deposit should include the item’s price, tip for the traveler and SafePay fee. The fee depends on requester’s payment method and traveler’s payout method within the range of two and four percent. The amount of money should be transferred first by the requesters to Bistip SafePay and it will be transferred to the travelers when both of them have met each other to hand over the items.
Bistip, who was the winner of Best Most Promising Startup, Best Social Network and Best User Generated Content in SparxUp Awards last year is planning to have pick-up points whereby members can take their items at several fixed locations.
As told by the Bistip Team (Willy, Doddy, Panggi) and InvestIdea (Charles) to e27.
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