In 2014, whilst Sebastian Togelang got here back to Indonesia from Germany, he should depend the quantity of VCs active in the archipelago on his arms. This variety additionally blanketed the few global gamers that had made their foray into the emerging Southeast Asian startup pool.
Jump to 2017, and the number has grown considerably to reach 20 prominent gamers, indicating that Indonesia’s startup environment is growing at an extraordinary tempo with the aid of all, inclusive of the frontrunners of the startup atmosphere.
Togelang who based Kejora Ventures in 2014, is also the co-founder of Ideabox – an incubator set up among Mountain Kejora Ventures and Indosat/Ooredoo Group, focussing on incubating generation agencies inside the rising markets.
Sebastian has invested in approximately 29 startups, 16 of them are thru the Ideabox programme. With a presence in Jakarta, Singapore, Makati City and Bangkok, Kejora currently introduced the launch of its 2nd fund, with an predicted corpus of $eighty Mn with plans to expand to Malaysia.
In an different interview with CFT, he shares what it takes to be a VC in Indonesia, the startups evolving there, and the way businesses can maximise on increase and improvement in the island state. Here are the excerpts from our current interaction.
CFT: According to you, which sectors in Indonesia will see a capability upward push in investment and demand inside the near destiny?
Sebastian: In the Indonesian tech space, in the mean time, fintech is in growing call for. Whether it is about experimenting with new technology or attracting investment, fintech startups are doing all of it. Secondly, logistics, which is still a big problem inside the u . S ., has a massive possibility for startups to coins upon. The opportunity lies at both the ends, both first-mile and last-mile, so the sector will see a upward thrust in thoughts and emerging startups.
Lastly, facts, which very crucial and how can one control it, is likewise a hot segment and is in demand inside the u . S . In the intervening time – in particular with the AI and gadget getting to know entering. Additionally, perhaps within the coming future, healthtech and edtech will advantage ideal importance too. But, right now, the distance belongs to fintech. It’s the huge component available. At the end of the day, it’s all approximately solving troubles with scalability.
CFT: What distinguished enterprise tendencies do you notice in relation to fintech scene in Indonesia?
Sebastian: Fintech in Indonesia is growing at an unparalleled pace. We can already see the adjustments it has delivered in regular lives – in payments, insurance, and online banking. The industry has shifted hastily inside the closing 2-three years.
We, at Kejora, have already invested in 4 fintech organizations, and have also co-founded a fintech affiliation, so there are more and more businesses to come. The fintech association commenced from 3-five startups and inside couple of months this range has grown to attain ninety The quantity of product launches in the fintech space has left in the back of all its modern industrial/tech sectors.
When it involves absolutely changing coins with virtual payments within the usa, I suppose, Indonesia still has a long way to move. The truth that only 40% of the united states’s population is presently bankable posts a large undertaking for the fintech startups. Nevertheless, the industry is shifting greater in the direction of cashless and digital bills have turn out to be the cross-to approach.
CFT: Just lately, Kejora closed an $80 Mn fund. How do you propose to installation the fund? What are you key cognizance regions?
Sebastian: Our enterprise motto is quite simple. We look at what are the a success organizations (sales making and sustainable) in other nations inclusive of Europe, China, the USA and other elements of the world and try to practice their enterprise version right here because subsequently different nations will purchase comparable stuff on this location.
We are very focussed on bringing these a success commercial enterprise models to startups in Southeast Asia and assist them make bigger as speedy as viable, in relation to virtual groups, the number one participant can possibly take nearly 70% of the marketplace, so pace and timing is the whole thing in a virtual task.
And now, regardless of the brand new fund, we are still going to cognizance on matters we're good at. I assume we are exact at expertise the coverage zone. We are putting more power in the direction of logistics, due to the fact that’s some thing this is nonetheless a completely massive hassle in Indonesia. Edtech is also some thing we'd cognizance upon in future.
CFT: Since the appearance of startup environment in Indonesia, the united states has seen a few shifting funding and investor styles. Where 2016 noticed a few essential acquisitions and partnerships including Lazada-Alibaba, Uber-ExpressTaxi and many others., in which do you spot 2017 going? Additionally, what is the investor strategy at this second in the enterprise?
Sebastian: 2017 may be a continuation of the situation that started out in 2016. Where 2014-2015 became the yr of rapid increase, while on the give up of 2015, it saw a sudden halt. The unicorn crisis happened in 2016 while a variety of agencies have become mature, and investors that had been as soon as focussing on marketplace boom all at once realised ‘Okay, it’s now time to ask for sales, real numbers, to create a sustainable company.’
So, for 2017, I guess traders are tons smarter now. Hopefully, there may be no longer too much hype anymore, however they may be investing greater in sustainable businesses. It is going to be the time for larger and smaller players coming together and optimising commercial enterprise enlargement in special sectors across Southeast Asia. There are different factors for the equal. The bigger startups at the moment are getting a lot extra investment, that they need to grow faster, and one manner to do that is by using acquiring smaller corporations, the ones that they think are strategic for their boom and improvement.
At the identical time, the smaller players are realising that if they don’t be part of the larger ones, it will be difficult for them to benefit investment or develop at the pace similar to the larger players. So I think the market is getting more affordable, where the stronger will collect the smaller to stay in the game.
Initially, absolutely everyone desired to become the Google of Indonesia. I think now the marketplace is getting greater mature where humans understand that they want to collaborate.
Additionally, strategic partnerships throughout countries for investments also are gaining pace. So permit’s say there are corporations, one is running out of Thailand and the second is from Indonesia. Both of them have properly traction and consumer-base in their own respective countries. The two can probable enter into a partnership in which they'll combine their resources and purchaser bases to seize the marketplace share in each the nations.
CFT: Venture capital surfaced as a relatively new concept in Indonesia. How do you observed VC funding is panning out. Throw a few mild on upcoming tendencies as well.
Sebastian: When I came returned from Germany in 2014, I assume the quantity of VCs in Indonesia might be counted on one hand. And that’s honestly pronouncing something. And, even then, part of it consisted of global VCs that had an affiliate right here.
Then came 2015, and we noticed the upward push of Indonesia’s rich families. It changed into a game changer for investment and challenge capital in the usa. As the massive, powerful families of Indonesia created their own VC budget, accordingly, increasingly VCs are shooting up inside the archipelago. With the upward push in number of startups, the range of VCs and traders has additionally multiplied, and this increase has been almost without delay proportional.
Now, Indonesia has progressively emerged as the subsequent large destination for investments. I can say this because I recall being returned in Silicon Valley, and there wasn’t a good deal speak about Indonesia being the subsequent huge funding hub. In truth, there was no speak at all. Even once I went to China, no one genuinely cared about Indonesia. But the instances have changed and now we are seeing a majority of these American VCs, be it Sequoia, or 500 Startups, or Chinese VCs coming to the united states of america and they all want to put their money in the Indonesian marketplace now.
CFT: You are presently serving because the Secretary General of the Indonesian Venture Capital Alliance. Could you please shed a few light at the position and goal of this body and the way is it boosting the startups within the archipelago?
Sebastian: Traditionally, assignment capital in Indonesia turned into synonymous with debt or a loan and did no longer function as funding for a organisation. It wasn’t an fairness-based deal. So, the complete structure of assignment capital had to be built from scratch here. We needed to work very carefully with the government to construct this digital economy hand-in-hand.
VCs, as a part of the digital atmosphere, without delay/circuitously assist the tech startup boom in Indonesia. A lot of the successful business businesses in Indonesia come from traditional industries. These conglomerates and the Indonesian Government are fantastically new to this digital business international. Until now, unluckily it’s still tough for startups to get Series A, B investment from Indonesian Investors. If the VC atmosphere grows, it could assist the startups to develop as properly.
In addition, this alliance helps the synergy the various VCs in Indonesia, together with co-investments, knowledge and era switch, and so forth. Besides that, it encourages the VCs to paintings collectively and help every other.
The surroundings of a country in its entirety wishes to be nourishing for the startups. The course and the placement of the contemporary authorities with appreciate to startups is to be favored, and being hopeful of the destiny beforehand, this growth will hold persevering with. The authorities is attempting to make policies that are greater startup- and investment-pleasant and is also supplying special tax advantages to startups. It’s all inside the procedure and it will take time.
CFT: Let’s communicate about historical manner of funding in Indonesia and the way the release of larger price range (Series A and above) could affect the surroundings.
Sebastian: VCs in Indonesia to start with did just one issue: Seed investment.
Presently, we've more and more seed buyers, and consistent Series A traders, joining forces to finance the Series B round. Otherwise, the Series B round of a startup is typically backed with the aid of the large international men, or some PE firm.
At the same time, I suppose there is lots of hole between Series A and B spherical on the subject of investors, however this trend is likewise shifting. The new fashion might optimistically have greater traders coming to the B and C rounds, due to the fact essentially the guess is that best robust businesses might live on and go to Series B from A. So some distance, Indonesia is growing in a healthy way, but the Series B scale is still underdeveloped.
CFT: What are the factors that you, as an investor, hold in thoughts earlier than putting your money in a startup?
Sebastian: There are a couple of things that we maintain in our thoughts at the same time as investing in a startup. We have our 3Ts: Theme, Team, and Time.
A startup’s subject matter (enterprise concept) may be very crucial for us. Then comes their business model, and sustainability being the 1/3 key component there. Basically, I put money into a completely strong team, that could make this topic (the proposed enterprise idea) a success sufficient to emerge as the main startup in that sector.
Kejora remains region-agnostic, inside the feel that we can invest in a startup as lengthy because it belongs to a profitable market, is sustainable and, on the same time, is developing disruptive technology in its area. Kejora is now focussing on the entire Southeast Asian vicinity, and is planning to extend its portfolio across the entire area, not just Indonesia. That’s going to be the focus of our new $80 Mn fund.
CFT: In your opinion, what are the primary roadblocks that startups operating in Indonesia face?
Sebastian: Population is really a key factor for tech agencies that need to grow inside the us of a. While Indonesia is on the best facet of this difficulty, on the identical, time humans ought to additionally be ready to shop for things/products and for that, they need to have money in their wallet. Consumption styles are converting and it might be right to mention that Southeast Asia is at the right tune.
That being stated, I assume there are a number of demanding situations that startups face here. Indonesia has 17,000 islands, that makes logistics one of their largest problems. But payments are still hard. The attain of banks and digitisation isn't very excessive, which leads to a state of affairs in which exceptional human beings opt for different sorts fee techniques – depending on person alternatives and reach of generation. This will become difficult for the startup whilst it wants to capture the larger bite of a market.
At the identical time, all of those problems are feasible opportunities for startups to create a area for themselves, remedy them and, in turn, emerge as vital for the economy and the populace.