Founding Director at Indonesia Fintech Association
Ajisatria (Aji) Suleiman is one of the co-founders of the Indonesia Fintech Association (locally abbreviated as AFTECH) started in 2016. In this capacity, Aji has been instrumental in managing regulatory advocacy to support the fintech startup ecosystem from peer-to-peer lending, payment system, and digital identity. Aji is also a tech lawyer that has helped startup companies in regulatory compliance and government engagement. Since early 2019, Aji is part of a team appointed by the Minister of ICT (Kominfo) Rudiantara to assist in “digital economy ecosystem facilitation.”
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Disclaimer: all content within the Startup Ecosystem Summary and Editor’s Guide sections is written by and reflects the personal perspective of the guest editor. The guest editor is not responsible for content within the Country Snapshot and Community sections, as much of this content is compiled from external sources and does not necessarily reflect the guest editor’s view.
As the largest economy in Southeast Asia, Indonesia is a promising country that has gained the attention of many investors. With four unicorns (Tokopedia, Bukalapak, Go-Jek, and Traveloka), it is the country with the most unicorns in Southeast Asia. At the moment, Indonesia has nearly 147 million internet users (55% of their total population). The booming digital growth lays the foundation for Indonesia to reap significant economic benefits. According to McKinsey, e-commerce sales only account for 5% of Indonesia’s total retail sales. The figures are expected to rise to between 17% and 30% in the next five years.
For investors and startups looking to enter this market there is good news: (1) many existing successful players are foreign entities which goes to show that the government is keen to draw help from all quarters and (2) authorities are taking steps to ensure clear regulatory requirements to boost confidence.
Investors will continue to be excited, but cautious, about the Indonesian dream: Overseas companies should not cut-and-paste the US or China model into Indonesia. Companies that are just focusing on making a quick profit will find their options limited soon. Only companies that have a vision to be integrated into the local ecosystem will succeed. Further, the pace of innovation will be slower, given that barriers to entry are much higher.
Collaboration with incumbents will increase: Instead of fighting head-on-head, we believe that established players, in particular banks, will start to collaborate with new tech players.
Regulations will stabilize: Indonesia’s openness to engage players is a demonstration to their commitment to innovation. We expect that the regulations will further tighten as the market matures, and will eventually stabilize. Weak, non-compliant players will be forced out of the market, while stronger ones will continue to thrive.
Editor’s choice of the country’s top 10 emerging tech startups.
Editor’s pick of which ‘Featured Startup’ is especially worth following and why.
Editor’s choice of the industries with the most potential for technology disruption and growth.
Editor’s perspective of the maturity level of talent in the ecosystem.
Editor’s commentary on how the country’s culture and history have impacted the ecosystem.
Indonesia is a market economy in which the state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and large private business groups (family conglomerates) play a significant role. Many of these privately-held business groups derive their wealth and influence from the close relationships with the political establishments since the New Order era of Soeharto, who ruled the country from 1966 to 1998. These diversified privately-held business groups in Indonesia (a tiny fraction of the total amount of companies active in Indonesia) – together with the SOEs – dominate the domestic economy.
The fall of the Soeharto regime in 1998 opened up an avenue for new entrepreneurial classes in Indonesia. The second and third generations of the family groups started to venture into new businesses, but at the same time, aspiring entrepreneurs from the middle class background have also been making significant drive to the ecosystem. The current President, Joko Widodo, is an example of a small-town business owner who managed to rise up to the ranks of the Indonesian political elites.
The Indonesian tech sector started to attract serious investments around 2011, but only after October 2014 when Tokopedia announced a US$100 million investment from Sequoia, did the general public begin to understand the scale and potential magnitude of the startup ecosystem. The announcement came only two days after the inauguration of President Joko Widodo, who has been a strong supporter of the digital economy since day one of his administration. He visited Silicon Valley to meet with tech leaders, and invited Alibaba’s Jack Ma to be an advisor to his digital economy policy agenda.
President Widodo is known to be close to key tech pioneers such as East Ventures, Bukalapak, Tokopedia, and Go-Jek. In early 2015, Go-Jek–a company that has been around since 2010–launched its two-wheel ride-hailing app and received more funding from global investors, resulting in massive adoption from 2016 onwards. Its massive penetration, along with the presence of Uber and Grab, ignited a series of serious public debates on the disruptive impact of the tech challengers to the existing incumbents. Similar debates have persisted since late-2017 with the entrance of fintech operators (both in lending and payment) that are filling the gap that existing banks have failed to cater. With a high degree of consumer digital adoption and massive smartphone penetration, the Indonesian tech story is just beginning.
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AC Ventures (Jakarta): AC Ventures is an early-stage technology venture fund that focuses on investing in Indonesia’s digital disruptors.
Alpha JWC Ventures (Jakarta): An institutional and independent VC with a strong Indonesia focus that invests in early to growth-stage technology companies. Sector-agnostic. (Source: Alpha JWC Ventures)
ANGIN (Angel Investment Network Indonesia) (Jakarta): Connects startups with angel investors within the community. (Source: TechSauce)
Central Capital Ventura (Jakarta): Corporate VC affiliated with Bank Central Asia (BCA), the biggest private bank in Indonesia. It focuses its investments in early stage Fintech startups. (Source: TechSauce)
Convergence Ventures (Jakarta): Invests in early stage tech startups. Its portfolio includes Qraved, an application that helps you discover the best restaurants in Indonesia. (Source: TechSauce)
CyberAgent Ventures Indonesia (Jakarta): A venture capital firm headquartered in Tokyo with an office and presence in Indonesia. (Source: CyberAgent Ventures)
East Ventures Indonesia (Jakarta): A regional VC with a large amount of its investment in Indonesia. It was one of the first investors that invested in unicorns such as Tokopedia, IDN Media and Traveloka. (Source: TechSauce)
GDP Ventures (Jakarta): Corporate VC from the Djarum Group company in Indonesia that focuses on digital media startups. It has invested in SEA (formerly known as Garena) and IDN Media. (Source: TechSauce)
Grupara Ventures (Jakarta): VC focusing on Seed and Series A level. It has its own co-working space, Freeware Spaces Group. (Source: TechSauce)
Indies Capital (Singapore): Indies Capital Partners is a leading alternative asset manager/private equity fund focusing on Southeast Asia, especially Indonesia. Established in 2009, it has invested more than US$1 billion and manages over US$600 million in total assets, commitments, and co-investments, on behalf of institutional investors and private clients. (Source: Indies Capital)
Indogen Capital (Jakarta): VC that focuses on investing in a wide range of startups. Interesting startups within its portfolio include Carsome and HijUp E-Commerce, a platform that sells fashionable Muslim clothing. (Source: TechSauce)
Kejora Ventures (Jakarta): VC that invests across Fintech, Ecommerce, and logistics. (Source: TechSauce)
Monk's Hill Ventures Indonesia (Jakarta): A venture capital fund investing in post-seed stage tech startups in Southeast Asia. (Source: Monk's Hill Ventures)
Skystar Capital (Jakarta): A fund that invests in technology focused startups in the Asia Pacific region, particularly Indonesia, at their early and growth stages. (Source: Skystar Capital)
SMDV (Sinar Mas Digital Ventures) (Jakarta): Corporate VC under the network of Sinar Mars, a company that produces paper and palm oil, which has turned to investing in tech startups. SMDV has invested in Omise and HappyFresh. (Source: TechSauce)
Venturra Capital (Jakarta): Corporate VC that focuses on early stage tech startups in the e-commerce, FinTech, HealthTech, and EdTech industries. (Source: TechSauce)
Batavia Incubator (Jakarta): Founded in Jakarta in 2011 as a joint venture between Rebright Partners, a Japanese incubator and Corfina Group, an Indonesian financial group. Investment Structure: Seed funding, bridge, and Series A funding. Notable Startups Incubated: Bukalapak.com. (Source: Inc42)
Founder Institute Jakarta (Jakarta): Headquartered in Silicon Valley and with chapters across 60 countries, the Founder Institute’s mission is to “Globalise Silicon Valley” and build sustainable startup ecosystems worldwide. Notable Startups: Kejora, BuatKontrakt. (Source: Inc42)
Ideosource (Jakarta): Incubator and venture capital firm in Jakarta launched in 2012, Sectors: Online content, media, advertising, e-commerce, payment and supporting infrastructures in web and mobile technologies. Notable Startups Incubated: EFishery, Gimmie, ACommerce, Bhinneka.com. (Source: Inc42)
Indigo Incubator (Bandung): Founded in Bandung in 2012 by Paul Sangeet Choudhary, Ramu Manusama, and Arif Widhiyasa, the incubator runs a programme called Indigo Nation under Startup Digital Indonesia, under which it offers the incubated startups mentoring, market access, API support, access to global accelerators and incubators, and coworking spaces in Indonesia, across 15 cities. Investment Structure: Seed Investment up to $150K. Notable Startups Incubated: Kakatu, Jarvis Store, X-iGent etc. (Source: Inc42)
Inkubator Bisnis Primakara (Denpasar): Receives operational support from the agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT). In addition, the incubator has also been cooperating with various communities, such as Gamedev and Vali for fund support. It does not provide funding. (Source: Inc42)
Kolaborasi (Bandung): Offers a digital incubation programme in Bandung that aims to provide remote entrepreneurship assistance with varying modules the startups can choose from, as per their evolving needs. Notable Startups Incubated: Co.fund, Azzam, Wordshelf. (Source: Inc42)
Merah Putih Incubator (Jakarta): Incubator and early-stage investor in Jakarta that mainly focuses on digital ventures and provides funding and support to incubated startups. Sectors: Fintech, Saas-based or community-based startups. Notable Startups Incubated: Ansvia, DailySocial, Infokost, Kincir, and Kurio. (Source: Inc42)
Skystar Ventures (Tangerang): Tech incubator and coworking space founded by Universitas Multimedia Nusantara (UMN) and Kompas Gramedia Group (KGG) in Tangerang. Skystar Ventures helps founders tap into KGG’s diverse network of distribution channels to strategically market their product or service and quickly build a customer base. Notable Startups Incubated: CaterInc, JobMine. (Source: Inc42)
Alpha Startups Bootcamp (1337 accelerator) (Jakarta): Located in Jakarta. Offers pre-Seed funding, AWS business support and coworking spaces across the country. Investment Structure: A micro-investment of US$5,000. (Source: Inc42)
Binus Startup Accelerator (Jakarta): A series of pitching-mentorship programmes in Jakarta for BINUSIAN active students. Offers free training, access to office facilities, a series of company building activities, and go-to-market support. At the end of the programme, a Demo Day will be held for the startups to meet and pitch in front of the investors. Investment Structure: Seed investment of $1,600. Notable Startups Incubated: Starnesia, Ennouns, Info Diskon. (Source: Inc42)
Digitaraya (Jakarta): The result of a partnership program between Google Developers Launchpad and Kibar, a startup ecosystem builder. Digitaraya is a world-class accelerator focused on nurturing Indonesia’s next generation of startups. (Source: Digitaraya)
FasterCapital (Dubai): Accelerator based in Dubai and has partnered with local startup players in Indonesia including Eri Taruna and Itho Suryoputro. Notable Startups: Indocrypt, AutoFleem.io, dLook. (Source: Inc42)
GnB Accelerator (Jakarta): A partnership between Japanese IT company Infocom Corporation and Fenox Venture Capital from Silicon Valley. Prominent partners include Deloitte, Microsoft, and AWS. (Source: GnB Accelerator)
Grupara (Jakarta): Initially a VC firm, Grupara introduced its incubation facility in 2012. Other than seed investment, Grupara also provides startups with office space which is based in Fatmawati, Jakarta Selatan, business supports, mentorships as well as a follow-up funding round. Investment Structure: The program provides seed stage investment ranging from US$10,000 to US$50,000, but may differ in some special occasions. Notable Startups Incubated: Seekmi, Freeware Spaces, Pazpo. (Source: Inc42)
Plug and Play Indonesia (Jakarta): A global startup accelerator. Leading international VCs were invited to take part in launching the program in Indonesia in 2016 by Indonesian President Joko Widodo. (Source: Plug and Play Indonesia)
Block71 Jakarta (Jakarta): A partnership between NUS enterprise from Singapore and Salim Group. It is a network for startups in Singapore and Indonesia that want to expand into each other's markets. (Source: TechSauce)
CoHive (Country-wide): Rebranded from EV Hive and Cocowork in order to expand its business overseas. (Source: CoHive)
Menara by Kibar (Jakarta): Co-working space that has partnered with Google Entrepreneur to be an incubator for tech startup entrepreneurs. (Source: Digitaraya)
WeWork Indonesia (Jakarta): This global co-working space entered the market by merging with Spacemob, a co-working space in Indonesia. (Source: TechSauce)
MeetMagento (Jakarta): An Ecommerce and RetailTech seminar held in Jakarta. It gathers entrepreneurs, developers, and various service providers that are involved in e-commerce into one place. (Source: TechSauce)
Starthub Connect (Banten): A tech conference that draws everyone in the Indonesia startup community together. It is held in Banten, west of Jakarta. (Source: TechSauce)
Tech in Asia Jakarta (Jakarta): A tech conference that has chosen Jakarta as one of its venues. Its target is to update participants on the latest trends and connect the Indonesian community with the rest of the world. (Source: TechSauce)
BKPM (Badan Koordinasi Penanaman Modal : Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board): A department that provides support specifically for foreigner investors. It connects investors to the government and facilities communication between them. (Source: BKPM)
Indonesian Startup Database: A central startup database developed by the Indonesian Creative, Information Technology, and Communication Industry Society (MIKTI) and Indonesian Creative Economy Agency (BEKRAF). It helps stakeholders and the government make better policies and programmes, and attracts more investors. (Source: Indonesian Startup Database)
Making Indonesia 4.0 Strategy: Aims to allow Indonesia to adopt greater levels of automation and utilize the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). (Source: Making Indonesia 4.0 Strategy)
Palapa Ring: Aims to improve internet access in rural areas of Indonesia, and connect all Indonesian districts through fiber optic communication. The program helps digital economy players (e.g., OVO, Tokopedia) expand their ecosystem and increases internet penetration. (Source: Palapa Ring)
Super Deductible Tax: Fiscal incentives for industries that invest in vocational (200% tax relief) activities and research and development (R&D) activities (300% tax relief). (Source: Super Deductible Tax)
Indonesian Fintech Association: Manages regulatory advocacy to support the fintech startup ecosystem in Indonesia. (Source: Indonesian Fintech Association)
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