From Humble Beginnings: How Our Founder Started an Ecommerce Marketplace to Help Customers Buy from Indonesia

Indo4ward
4 min readApr 21, 2023

It all started during the peak of COVID-19 pandemic that made this all from just an idea into a reality. If not for the realisation that there was a problem, I wouldn’t have brought together a talented team and got cracking on this very idea where we now use and see Indo4ward today.

Indo4ward started off as a very simple mission, we wanted to help businesses in Indonesia to fix a problem that businesses all around the world risk. A risk which many businesses in the world have seen coming to a halt during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is the risk of operating with a single supplying country, China.

Don’t get me wrong, China’s ability to supply the world with products is definitely something people around the world are thankful for, I mean look at iPhones and all the products surrounding us that’s labelled with “Made In China”.

My name is Glenn, and I’m the founder of Indo4ward. I build Indo4ward mainly for 2 reasons:

  • My Indonesia wife that’s always missing her hometown produce and products
  • The gap where businesses are plagued with just ONE supplier.

Truly Indonesian, missing Indonesia

I believe there’s really no need to explain when it comes to fulfilling your wife’s demands, when a wife says she wants it, you better deliver it.

Photo by SHVETS production from Pexels

Prior to Indo4ward, we would either ask favours from friends and family to bring over things we want or simply fly there to bring it back. Be it snacks, food, apparels and what not. But oftentimes that’s not frequent, and especially when COVID-19 struck the world, we couldn’t even travel.

There were many cases where a lot of loved ones suffered from the horrors of COVID-19, but we pressed on and I send my condolences to those who lost their loved ones. We realised that during this period, travel was impossible and to see the quality of care delivered abroad, just pains us.

While travel wasn’t possible, shipping was still operating. But there really isn’t a service that could deliver a similar shopping experience like we normally do with our local marketplaces. Hence, Indo4ward was born.

Filling up the International gaps with Indonesia

One problem we saw was surgical masks during COVID-19. The world has been so reliant on the same supplying country that they almost forgot that they have the ability to fill the gap. This resulted in a lot of problems, businesses weren’t able to operate under new safety guidelines, and residents weren’t able to acquire reasonably priced masks.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

Indonesia is located in a geographical position that has an abundance of resources and manpower to deliver many products. Back when COVID-19 plagued the world, masks prices were seen to grow from a few dollars to 10 or 20 times the original price. The world even went crazier when China stopped shipping out their masks for their own use, and the world started facing heavy shortages.

It was when we found a friend that could deliver Indonesian manufactured masks that we realised it was an opportunity that no one knew about.

Withstanding the change of times

It’s difficult to start something abroad, remotely, let alone not being an Indonesian to start with. There were a lot of hurdles when we tried to establish a shipping route, but we were fortunate enough to meet the right people after countless virtual meetings with brand owners and vendors.

I started Indo4ward because of 2 reasons, and it grew on me. We’re still developing, and honestly, I’m surprised at how we can still withstand the landscape changes. We hope to evolve into a bigger marketplace, where all Indonesia small and medium businesses can be involved. We believe that if we can stand the change of times, businesses in Indonesia can too and we would like to be part of it.

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Indo4ward
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Shop 4ward, with Indo4ward. Extend your limits of shopping to Indonesia, with no hassle and worries! You shop them, we settle the rest with Indo4ward!