Indonesian fashion ecommerce site 8wood pulls seed funding

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by: TechInAsia

8wood, a fashion ecommerce site for women in Indonesia, announced today that it raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from local venture capital firm Ideosource. The startup will use the newly-acquired capital for recruitment, marketing, and product development.

“We are looking for investors that are able to give mentorship as well as partners to exchange thoughts and views. We believe that Ideosource is the perfect partner and we are happy to be joining forces with them,” says Alvin Yodhapatria, co-founder and CEO of 8wood.

Yodhapatria started 8wood, which works on a a business-to-consumer model, in late 2013 with his wife, Alice Norin. Prior to building the site, Yodhapatria was a DJ and an event organizer. Norin, on the other hand, is an Indonesian actress, having appeared in several films and television shows. According to 8wood, the pair built 8wood to serve a young, dynamic, and independent demographic of women in Indonesia.

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Indonesia – The Emerging Startup Nation

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7 Building Blocks to Foster the Indonesia Startup Ecosystem

by : Andi S Boediman

Before I lay out the seven building blocks that we need to foster the Indonesia startup ecosystem, let me explain where Indonesia’s tech industry stands at the moment relative to its neighbors.

Late last year, I was invited to Korea as part of Dreamplus Alliance. Initiated by Hanwha group in Korea, this is an alliance between 11 accelerators from different countries in Asia to promote startups ecosystem. The idea is to form a global alliance of key regional accelerators and to assist promising startups to reach their dreams on the global stage. After learning the maturity of each ecosystem, I see the difference between each country technology ecosystem and market maturity.

  1. Isolated Technology Nation
    China and India clearly are mature ecosystem by themselves, they have the technology, funding, and big market. Most China & India’s players getting into Indonesia is already a winner in their own market. They are either already so big that they can get into Indonesia market by themselves or they will partner with a giant local player in Indonesia, this is similar to many US technology companies like GoogleFacebookTwitter. Since Indonesia mostly only becomes a market, this is where the government can benefit from the tax income.
  2. Advanced Technology Nation with Limited Market
    JapanKorea, and Taiwan are advanced technology countries with a mature market but each has limited size. They have the technology that we need and they need the market to expand. They are Indonesia’s natural partners in which we can obtain technology leadership from these countries and localised it for Indonesia. Some big companies will get into Indonesia by themselves. A good model is to license the IP, know-how, and technology. The best model is doing a win-win partnership through joint venture in which each party will contribute value.
  3. Advanced Technology Nation with Small Market
    Singapore is a country with very advanced technology but no market, so they have to think globally from day one. Most of the Singaporean technology startup will face a big challenge when entering Indonesia since there’s a huge gap between the technology and market readiness. Singapore government has been a very strong proponent for the startup ecosystem, from providing the environment, various funding scheme to the startups, all the way to provide an access to US market by opening an office in US. This makes Singapore aspire to become the regional/global access hub and startup funding in the region, but not for a real scalable market.
  4. Emerging Technology Nation with Limited Market
    Thailand and Philippines are quite similar to Indonesia. Vietnam is slightly behind Indonesia while Malaysia is slightly ahead of Indonesia in terms of technology and market maturity. Any technology and solution that is successful in each country can be replicated to another country. This has been a model for some regional player, including aCommercewhich is invested by Ideosource. Then, the collaboration between Indonesia and these other emerging technology countries are about opening each other market for the startup companies to consolidate and become regional players.
  5. Indonesia is The Emerging Technology Nation with Vast Market
    Indonesia has a vast market, so we can sustain and scale by only targeting the Indonesian market. With 250 million people, it is projected to become the third most populous country behind India and China within the next 20 years. Indonesia’s GDP is $3,500, sits between India’s and China, but it is growing doubled within the past five years. The new government is targeting to increase GDP 5% to 7% by inviting foreign investments for infrastructure and new industries.

I believe that Indonesia is the next Startup Nation if we are able to weave all the building block in the industry. Let’s take a closer look at Indonesia current state and how we can contribute making it happen.

Building Block 1. Entrepreneurs Diaspora & Immigrants

The first generation of Internet entrepreneurs in Indonesia is mostly successful because of their skills and persistence. The second generation of Internet entrepreneurs is mostly coming back from studying and work in high tech companies abroad. The third category comes from previous executives working in the global/multinational Internet companies in the region or Indonesia. They have multi-ethnic background and many of them have an investment banking/management consulting experience.

Proliferation of ideas and knowledge comes from the diaspora and interconnectedness of people. Many of the brightest minds are educated at Western universities and working in global/multinational companies. When they go home and quit from the job, they take both knowledge and contacts. They start new companies and creating an interconnected network that is closely related. Global accelerators and venture capitals have identified this and they are actively investing into these founders.

Bringing the diaspora back and encouraging them to start companies in Indonesia will inspire knowledge and technology transfer.

With the Indonesian digital industry growth, there is a big need to capture the best talent not only from Indonesia, but from other countries as well. By attracting exceptionally skilled immigrants, they can bring new knowledge and create jobs within the local economy. It’s new businesses that are going to create new jobs, and there are certain policies that need to be in place for that to occur. William Tanuwijaya from Tokopedia plan to hire a lot of engineers in India, Vietnam, and China to keep up with the company growth and to get a faster knowledge transfer from the global talent.

Across many developed countries, there is interest in attracting exceptionally skilled immigrants who can bring new knowledge and create jobs within the local economy –Startup Visa

In order to maintain Indonesia to become innovative and entrepreneurial nation, policymakers need to take steps to attract more highly-skilled entrepreneurial foreigners and global talents to Indonesia.

This is not about opening Indonesian market for global players, but inviting entrepreneurs to use Indonesia as a base to serve the global market.

Bali is a new fast growing startup scene that people are surprised by. By embracing the international talent like what have been done in Bali, we might be able to repeat the story of Walter SpiesAntonio Blanco, and John Hardy in the art world. The fastest way to capture the international market is inviting the one that understand that market themselves. Bandung & Yogyakarta have been homes to various developers community, and naturally some international companies have established a production team in these cities. This will encourage for transfer of knowledge for Indonesian talent.

Building Block 2. International Education & Vocational Training

It is estimated that 2.6 million Indonesians will enter higher education in the next decade, due to Indonesia’s economic growth, political stability, demographic changes and rising education levels. But there are only 36,000 students or 1% of Indonesia’s total students?—?currently study abroad. The need for internationalization is essential, so a greater number of Indonesians are equipped with wider perspective and global mindset. Australia and US are the most popular study destination for Indonesians. China, Malaysia, Singapore, Germany and Japan are some of the favorite destinations. But the real contribution to the Indonesian economy will happen when we can invite the best talent back to Indonesia.

Learning from China, the government initiated the Thousand Foreign Experts program, which is designed to attract up to 1,000 foreign academics and entrepreneurs over the next 10 years to help improve research and innovation. Under the program, successful candidates will receive a subsidy and research allowance. This program proved to have successfully brought the best talent back to China.

On the other hand, the total number of international students studying in Indonesia is only about 3,000 students. Internationalization of higher learning in Indonesia would result in the increase in flow of ideas, attitudes, values, technology, economy and people across borders?—?all necessary responses to the impact of globalization. The fastest way to attract international students and bringing this standard into a higher education is by partnering with established universities in Australia and US, as done by Singapore, Malaysia and many other countries.

Now it is the right time for internationalization of higher education, research and innovation in Indonesia.

Indonesian labour market is characterised by a high level of youth unemployment since the vocational education and training currently doesn’t match the requirements of the industry. An interesting idea mentioned by Andrias Ekoyuono, VP Business Development of Ideosource, that with the extensive workforce, Indonesia can become the next BPO(Business Process Outsourcing) and KPO (Knowledge Process Outsourcing) service provider like India and Philippines. The work for BPO vary from data entry, medical transcription, content writing, software programming to HR and financial services. KPO focuses on knowledge and information related activities that include legal services, intellectual property and patent related services, engineering related services, web development, CAD/CAM applications, business research and analytics, legal research, clinical research, publishing and market research.

To help achieve this, the government should commit on skilled and vocational education. Credits from community colleges should be transferable to a university, thus offering graduates opportunities to further their vocational training at a higher level.

Indonesia should export its skilled workforce for the global market by focusing in technical and vocational education.

Building Block 3. Funding the Startup Ecosystem

A startup by nature have a very high mortality rate considering that they are still exploring their offering and business model. Most startups fail. That’s why grants and CSR money is the best models in an incubation stage. The cost of delivering the investment, incubate the company and exploring to get an initial traction is higher than the potential return on investment. Incubation program is risky and mostly won’t provide a good ROI from the program, so CSR fund from various state-owned or public companies is the best to be used as an incubation program.

Venture capital investing by nature is also a risky investment, the higher the risk, the better the return. Some of the risks include a high failure rate because of entrepreneur’s lack of experience, getting into a market that is too early, creating an offering that doesn’t scale and a very limited exit for the investment. We have seen this in the early dot-com bubble in early 2000.

The partnership between the government and private venture capitals has been implemented by various countries such as Singapore and Taiwan. Indonesia’s tech minister follows this model and aims to raise about US$1 billion to help develop Indonesia’s digital startups. Referring to the article at Kompas.com, Rudiantara mentioned that the VC is not state-owned and can be privately owned who passed through the government selection. It sounds good that the government trying to support the digital industry, but do we need the government involvement?

“Who will be responsible if the investment goes wrong? Will the appointed VC be blamed if they lose the investment? Will this be a subject to KPK(Corruption Eradication Commission) investigation? If there are so much money from the government, isn’t there a sudden spike of opportunistic institution competing for this funding without prior track record?”

What we need the most is a more open investment policy, not the funding itself.

The 100 million USD investment on Tokopedia has been been a major news and it creates positive investment environment in Indonesia. Looking into the market growth and investment inertia, we are going to see a billion dollar investment within 3 years. Foreign direct investments from Korea and Japanese investors have been here in Indonesia as early as 2011. Recent investment is done by Chinese giants. Global players like Rocket and Naspers have been actively investing from 2012. Funds dedicated to Southeast Asia are focused on Singapore & Indonesia as major investment potentials. There are enough funding for the tech industry and the trend is growing at rapid pace even without the government support.

Indonesia’s conglomerate group has been investing in the digital space like Djarum through GDP Venture & Merah Putih Incubator, Kompas Gramedia through direct investment and Skystar Capital as their investor’s personal vehicle, Bakrie through direct investment and venture capital, Salimpartnering with Rocket through PLDT, Sinarmas through its own venture capital and Ardent, Emtek mostly through direct investment, Lippo through its venture capital and direct investment. Ciputra group provide entrepreneur support through GEPI program. Most telco companies also committed sizable investment in digital space as shown by TelkomXL Axiata and Indosat.

With the support from local investors, Ideosource believes in investing the best Internet companies and the brightest founders. We have invested in many Indonesian-theme companies, including TouchtenSaqinaOrori & FemaleDaily.

Beside e-commerce and digital media, Ideosource is committed to invest in disruptive and innovative startups like fintech and Internet of things.

Building Block 4. Business Permit & Regulation

Indonesia is infamous for its unfriendly bureaucracy for processing a business permit and unwelcoming regulations for foreign direct investment. The President promised that this will become a thing in the past and have launched a one stop service when it comes to foreign direct investment. But Indonesia still needs to improve a lot when it comes to an ease of doing business.

As a popular figure, the President and member of its executive team, seemed too easy announcing controversial issues. As quoted in the media, they mentioned that the government would protect local online businesses from overseas acquisitions, which turned out to be not true. I would highly recommend the government to work on a good PR in helping their communication strategy and consistent message to avoid confusion among the business stakeholders.

When it comes to startup, we need a change on the existing regulation when accepting foreign direct investment. The regulation needs to open if we want to foster the culture of innovation. To encourage an investment friendly environment and regulations, my partner at Ideosource, Edward Ismawan Chamdani, indicated that the government needs to provide incentive for the investors like capital gain tax waiver, friendlier law to allow different classes of shares to protect investors, and other financial/tax/legal programs to incentivize investors to setup their funds and investment in Indonesia instead of offshore.

And there are some controversies towards a regulation in the e-commerce space as the government announcing the negative list of investment. This list specifies sectors of the Indonesian economy in which foreign investment is prohibited or limited. Currently the Indonesian government closed the foreign investment in business selling directly to the end users. William Tanuwijaya, Tokopedia’s CEO expect that the government would create a conducive ecosystem rather than focusing on local vs foreign investors issue.

Building Block 5. Digital & Physical Infrastructure

Indonesia’s market value of the broadband business is growing more than double due to a high Internet adoption. However, Internet penetration remains sluggish, with only 20% Internet penetration rate compare to 40% in Thailand and 90% in Singapore. This is the biggest homework for the government if they are serious on building the Internet ecosystem. Indonesia spent 1% of its GDP on infrastructure in 2009, compared with its Asian neighbours China (8%), South Korea (2.5%) and between 3- 6% for countries such as Singapore and Malaysia.

Source: PwC

The President pitched to the global leader at APEC forum on investing in Indonesia. One of the agenda, the sea toll road, is a maritime program that may reduce the country’s logistics costs by 10 to 15%. Currently, between 18 and 22% of companies’ production costs in Indonesia are absorbed by logistics costs, particularly due to expensive transportation costs. In the regional, this figure is below 10%. Between 2014–2017, there will be additional 8 seaports, 2 airports, 8 railways, 5 power plants and 11 water supply and waste treatment. By building these infrastructures, Indonesia will surely enhance its access and distribution.

Building Block 6. E-money Infrastructure & Adoption

Indonesia has a low level of digital money infrastructure and adoption. The World Bank Global Financial Index of 2011 measuring financial inclusion indicates that in Indonesia only 19.6% of the adult population has an account in a formal financial sector. In 2014, the number of credit card users in Indonesia are around 8 million unique users with 15.8 million cards. This is still a big challenge for digital adoption.

The thriving mobile sector of Indonesia opens up a door for mobile as an alternative-banking infrastructure able to offer accessible, simple and affordable financial services even in remote areas. But mobile telco is not proven to provide financial services, as they have a historical precedent on abusing the mobile content charging. And since they don’t have ATM, the e-wallet solution offered by the telco is not easy to be cashed-in.

Out of many solutions offered in Indonesia, Mandiri E-cash stands out as the most disruptive solution for digital money. It is a debit system linked to mobile phone numbers rather than bank accounts. Users deposit funds at e-cash agents, usually shops or kiosks or transferring from existing bank accounts. The funds can then be drawn upon for transfers and payments, after mobile phone authentication. Even without the need to open an account in the bank, you are able to withdraw the cash at Mandiri ATM.

Large scale adoption is still the biggest challenge for the e-money. The key driver for the e-money adoption comes from unexpected source, the Indonesian government. After stopping the soaring burden for fuel subsidy, the government is giving a direct cash subsidy to the underprivileged people called BLNT (direct non cash subsidy). BLNT is distributed through electronic money as an effort to reduce the cost of distribution, avoid potential loss and educate citizens about the use of electronic money. Targeting 15 million underprivileged people by the end of 2015, Indonesia will become the second biggest mobile money users in the world after Kenya. With the digital money adoption, it gives an immediate benefit to connect this solution with other digital payment ecosystems including remittance, e-commerce and many others.

We can mark this is the dawn for Indonesia as a cashless society.

Building Block 7. Indonesia Nationalism

In one inspiring discussion with Peng T. Ong, the Managing Director of Monk’s Hill Venture and co-founder of Match.com, he mentioned about the spirit of nationalism grow among Indonesia. We see the spirit of nationalism, that we care about ourselves, our future, and our nation. We see the new generation of leaders emerge, making people believe again in the government and how it can bring the best for the people and the nation. When everyone believes in one thing, great things happen.

We will see Indonesia thrive and become a great nation. A new startup nation.


Andi S. Boediman is the Managing Partner of Ideosource venture capital.

Don’t Recruit People That Need a Job, But Hunt The Value That You Need

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by : Andi S Boediman

When we put advertising in the media, we would like to attract the best talent to work in our company. If your company has previously known as blue chip company and famous for the best company to work for, then you have problem to filter too many candidates. It is a good problem. But if your company is not, then you will get so many crappy resumes from people that need a job and when we want to do the interview to the best potential candidate, many of them won’t show up because the best one already get a better offer and won’t be interested in your not so interesting company.

When I first start, I believe that since we are a small company, then we can only afford to employ and hire mediocre talent, or we will recruit fresh talent from the school and groom them to become a good leader. Now after 20 years in the industry, I completely change my thinking. If you are a small company, hunt the value of the talent that you need to grow your company as soon as possible. And when you are a big blue chip company, then you can afford to recruit the best fresh talent from the school and groom them.

Start With Ideal Profile and Hire From Top Down

You start the most important position, it can be a Co-Founder, Director or General Manager position. What is the ideal profile that suitable for this position? What value that you need the most? Should the talent have a strong background in Sales/Marketing, Operation, Products/Logistics, Finance, HR? Pick one, not all! What companies background that you love the most to fill in this position? As an example for admission position in my education company, I need to capture the network and track record of a person from big university, education consultant or education chain. For sales position in digital agency, I need to capture the network and track record of a person from television, magazine or radio as they have the widest advertisers network. Even though this person not necessarily have a strong understanding about digital, we can give them a team that will complement them. By then, you can define what the ideal company that you want to get this talent from. You cast and leverage your social capital by asking friends that have this similar network. Now with the age of LinkedIn, it’s quite easy to look for people with a specific profile.

Sell the Value of the Opportunity, Not the Current State of the Company

After you find the ideal profile and the target, the big question is always why would they leave their current position to work with you? What’s in it for them? If this talent comes from your network, it’s easier to convince since you can ask your friend to sell the opportunity and the value to work with you. But if you just start your company and there is no way to tell, then you should do your own job to sell the opportunity. Let say for my education company, the school is partnering with Australian big university, so whenever I introduce myself, I always sell this partnership to convince the talent. And for the digital agency, I sell the idea to work with a cool team and projects, not to mention the support from the big company behind it.

How Do I Use LinkedIn to Recruit?

https://www.linkedin.com/in/andisboediman

Start with your own profile. If you want to recruit the best talent, your profile need to be impressive! Spend time to build a good story for your own LinkedIn profile. If you don’t have one, then you can ask one of your team that already had a good LinkedIn profile to help you.

After researching the right profile, I will connect with them. Don’t use LinkedIn default message, write your own and sell your value from day one. To give you an idea, I use this in the past:

Hi, I am interested in your experience in education. Kindly connect.
– Andi S. Boediman, IDS Education – partner of Griffith University, Australia

Hi, I am interested in your profile in e-commerce. Kindly connect.
– Andi S. Boediman, Ideoworks – partner of Shopify, Canada.

So I am not just a random guy adding new contact. With this kind of message, out of 20 to 30 profile I connect, at least half will connect back within 1?—?3 days, and usually more. This will depend on how good your LinkedIn profile is. Then you can send the message through LinkedIn or direct to their email.

This is a sample on how I send the message when I recruit Admission Manager for my school.

Subject: Admission Manager for Griffith University International Pathway Program

Hi ….,

My company, IDS Education, is partnering with Griffith University Australia through the International Pathway Program. Griffith University is a public university in Queensland and has campuses located on the Gold Coast and Brisbane. You can checked the partnership at our IDS Education website

We are recruiting an Admission Manager responsible for the International Pathway Program.

If you are interested, kindly reply to my email andisboediman@…

Regards,
Andi S. Boediman
IDS Education, partner of Griffith University

This is other sample that I successfully use when I recruit Merchant Acquisition for Shopify.

Subject: Merchant Acquisition for Shopify

Hi …,

I got your name and contact through a friend, ….

My company, Ideoworks, is recently partnering with Singtel to bring in Shopify, a very easy to use e-commerce platform from Canada, for Indonesian market.

I am very interested in your profile to fill in the merchant acquisition position. I am interested to meet you for an introductory meeting and interview.

I arrange the meeting on Monday 3 pm at Starbucks. Please confirm to my email andisboediman@… and my cell …

Regards,
Andi S. Boediman
Ideoworks, partner of Singtel & Shopify.

How To Do The Interview, Selection and Decision?

I arrange the first meeting at public area, Starbucks located at the city centre. Meeting casually at public space makes your candidate feels it is not a serious commitment since they want to know more about the opportunity. And by putting it at a central location, it always easy for them to spare 30 min to 1 hour for a casual meeting. I arrange not more than 30?—?45 minutes per candidate for the meeting and casual interview. I allocate 3 hours for 4 to 5 candidates. I don’t require their CV in advance since I already read them at LinkedIn. But you can always ask them to send later for your HR Department. And since you are at public location, you can always ask the other candidate to wait at the other table if they come early or your interview running late.

I sell myself and the opportunity within the first 5 minutes, why us and why the partnership. This will give them the confidence to open up. What I always ask is the role and responsibility of what they are currently doing. Then what is their Key Performance Indicator. Sometime I ask about their organisation structure and who is they are responsible to. If you need to learn about the industry, then you can ask quite number of things about the industry related question. It always a good information will be shared during this discussion. As a closing, I always ask what is their current salary and incentive to fasten the recruitment process when I need to prepare for an offer.

I make small notes to remind myself later, especially name, position, KPI, salary, etc. Sometime I get some very good industry related information during this interview.

It takes me 3 or 4 times to cover all candidates doing the first introductory meeting before I decide to follow up only to 2 or 3 candidates for a second meeting. Even when you don’t get a suitable candidate, you might get lucky that they will refer someone else to fill in the position.

On the second meeting, invite them in your office and bring in more people related to that position, who is this candidate will report to, and the HR department. Decide which candidate you want to offer and then give this candidate an offer.

The entire process should finish not more than 3 weeks.

I always learn so much meeting these people, and have many more network that I can utilise later on.

Happy hunting!

Female Daily Network Raised $1 Million Series A Funding Led by Ideosource

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source : DailySocial

Female Daily Network (FDN) announced it has raised $1 million Series A funding (almost Rp 12 billion) from group of investor led by Ideosource. Also joining this funding round are SMDV and Convergence Accel. This investment will be used to improve FDN social platform, both in web and mobile, to create superior content discovery, personal recommendation, and shopping experience.

This year FDN has transformed itself by consolidating their properties into two main sites, Female Daily and Mommies Daily. Founded five years ago, FDN now has several million monthly visit and expect to break 100 million pageviews this year. FDN previously received undisclosed amount of angel investment in 2011.

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Indonesian jewelry shopping site Orori grabs seven-figure funding led by Ideosource

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source: TechInAsia

Indonesian jewelry ecommerce site Orori announced today that it received a seven-figure pre-series A investment led by local venture capital firm Ideosource, and followed by IMJ Investment PartnersEast Ventures, and 500 Startups.

Orori will use the new funds to incorporate more products and services into its operation. “We believe it will speed up our company growth, and we are expecting [to more than triple] our revenue by next year in June,” says Orori founder Budi Sumantri. Orori is a Singapore-registered ecommerce company that holds stock of goods sold through its portal. Sumantri claims Indonesia is one of its key markets.

Representatives from Orori’s new investors will join the company’s board of directors to aid in the firm’s overall business and growth strategy. According to Sumantri, the company will receive a follow up round of funding some time in early 2015.

Currently, Orori sells products such as gold, diamonds, and other jewelry, but also offers investments products like gold bars. Its services include providing a common space for users to trade second-hand jewelry, scrap gold for refinement, or simply pawn precious gems for cash. Sumantri says Orori will launch a new website early next year, which will be geared toward a more intuitive mobile user experience. According to him, mobile users now account for the majority of Orori’s traffic.

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5 Tips to Build Your Startup Business

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By : Andi S Boediman

In those early days of Internet startup, I share some hard lessons when running a few companies both successfully and not. Hopefully these lessons remain true today.

I wrote this piece during the early Indonesia startup days. I repost this with a few update.

Startup Lokal is a regular startup meetup created by Natali ArdiantoSanny GaddafiNuniek Tirta Sari and Aulia Halimatussadiah (Olie). In 2010, I was invited to Startup Lokal 7th installment. Today, all of them has become Indonesian startup leaders that shape the industry. Natali co-founded Tiket.com, Sanny co-founded Jakarta chapter of Founder Institute, Olie wrote numerous books to inspire thousand of readers and Nuniek actively involve in various startup initiatives.

I was invited as the judge at SparxUp Competition not long after that. Being a bad judge, I was late to do the judging process, rarely attending the brief and missed the final awarding event. Still, I was able to attend the seminar and the public pitch by these startups.

Surprisingly, quite numbers of Indonesian startup rise to the surface. In the final, the selected few are done not by first timer, they have previously done other ventures or products. Even among the one that didn’t make it, I see a good potential, either product, technology or simply future creator or entrepreneur that are able to create value.

The winner was the one with a simple business model. As a startup, this surely won the judges vote, but in a real world, it needs a business acumen to bring the business model to become sustainable and scalable. So the real test was not to win the award, but to be able to stand the test of time.

Then, what’s next? If it’s me, I will think really hard to find a profitable business model. A profitable business model is not necessary sustainable and scalable. Test the market, make mistake, that’s what startup does. Then it’s perfectly ok to have more than one business model. To give you a good sample, Google monetization comes from advertising revenue (Adsense, Adwords), software as services (GoogleApps) and e-commerce (Google Wallet). They also sell white label email services to telco provider and ISP, as well as provide search engine service for the corporate.

This is the insight I got from Sarah Lacy, when she was still an editor at Techcrunch and visiting Indonesia the first time.

Advertising won’t get you there, services will possibly better to monetize. So, become profitable from day one is good!

In those early days of Indonesia Internet startup, I summarize some hard lessons when running a few companies both successfully and not. Hopefully these lessons remain true today.

Tips 1. Choose to be a celebrity or to build business, pick one!

  • You might ended having both if you concentrate on one, but when you try to do both all at once, you will running out of resources. Besing a startup is cool, but too many startups spend time doing pitching and show off their business idea for the sake of winning in a competition and not spend enough time and effort to build a real company. Do the pitching when you actually have built some value in the company.

Tips 2. Make money from day one

  • Too many startups say that they use advertising as their revenue model. This is the sign that the site will fail since advertising can only be monetized at a later stage where all the traffics has already built up. Find other short-term business model such as services or product selling and use advertising as other income. Kapanlagi did this by having mobile content company as a revenue generator to finance their website in their early days. It took them 8 years to have 1 million pageview when they can start monetizing. Their second Bola.net took them 3 years to reach similar metrics and their third site Merdeka took them only 8 months So, become profitable from day one is good! And making money beside advertising is even better!

Tips 3. Serving a bigger client is a simpler & more profitable in a short-term business model rather than advertising driven business model.

  • Get into media industry by having advertising as a business model is very tough. Getting into retail market too soon will drain your financial resources. Getting into B to B market is simpler since you serve a bigger clients need. But keep in mind that B to B don’t build your brand, so use your retail business to build your brand. Bhinneka did this by providing procurement services as well as building their brand for retail market. When you have enough resources, then you can start getting into the consumer market.

Tips 4. Brand is more important than brain.

  • Partner with a bigger company and brand, tap in their customer database and offer value to this partner. Rely on your own knowledge and effort to build your own customer will take a lot more time than riding the access to market by a big partner or brand. Kaskus took 12 years to build their own loyal community. Now defuct Koprol reached quarter the users of Kaskus in 6 months after acquired by Yahoo. The key is providing benefit to this partner and position yourself to complement their value.

Tips 5. Value that you can offer: product, access to market, media, attraction factor, and ehm… good funding

  • Define your strength and look for partner that complement the other value. If you have a killer product, then find the right partner to access the market. If you have the access to market, look for the right product or media that benefit your customers. If you have the media, find something that will create a wow factor. Otherwise, good financial resource is always contribute a strong value to any company. But not everyone is lucky enough to get good funding, so always hope for the best but prepare to survive if you don’t get the funding.

10 of Indonesia’s most active venture capital firms

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By : TechInAsia

Investors are quick to show interest in Indonesia, but very few actually decide to jump in with both feet, as the country poses a high risk, high reward value proposition. Nevermind the buzzwords and stats that get thrown around about Indonesia by the global investment community. What we really want to know is: Who is just talking, and who is actually doing in Indonesia? In no particular order, here is our list of the top ten most active investors in Indonesia’s tech startup market at the moment.

Read more: 10 of Indonesia’s most active venture capital firms http://www.techinasia.com/10-of-indonesia-most-active-venture-capital-firms/

Logistics Company aCommerce Raises $10.7M Series A To Serve Southeast Asia’s Booming E-Commerce Market

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By : TechCrunch

aCommerce, a regional end-to-end e-commerce logistics and service provider for Southeast Asia, has closed a Series A funding round of $10.7 million. According to the company, this is the largest Series A for a Thailand-based startup and one of the largest Series A rounds in Southeast Asia to date.

The funding was organized by founding investor Ardent Capital, and led by Inspire Ventures, a Bangkok-based firm, with participation from NTT DOCOMO; Sumitomo Corporation Equity Asia Limited; Sinar Mas Indonesia; Asia Pacific Digital; Cyberagent Ventures; and JL Capital, as well as angel investors and executive staff.

Paul Srivorakul, regional CEO of aCommerce, explains logistics in Southeast Asia is challenging for vendors because the market is extremely diverse with multiple distribution channels. Low credit card penetration also means customers in up to 90 percent of local markets prefer cash-on-delivery payments.

“Southeast Asia is made up of many different countries, laws, languages, currencies, and complicated geographically, like the Philippines and Indonesia islands. We make it easy for brands and retailers to sell online by providing ‘turnkey’ end-to-end e-commerce services and products across the region, from customs, web development, and digital marketing to local language customer service support, payments, fulfillment, and collection-on-delivery,” he says.

“We also help brands acquire and manage the end customer and provide them with deep data/analytics across the entire customer experience and touch point, i.e. tracking everything from content/marketing all the way to packing orders and collecting payment/delivery.”

Founded in June 2013, aCommerce has four offices with fulfillment centers and over 250 employees in Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Their Series A will enable aCommerce to expand its logistics infrastructure, delivery fleet, technology platform, and channel management in each of its current markets and seek partnerships with other logistics and e-commerce companies.

aCommerce will also invest in customs clearance, FDA certification, and local business operating licenses for international companies that want to break into the Southeast Asia market. The company already provides services for brands like cosmetics conglomerate L’Oreal, HP, Line Chat and Groupon.

Srivorakul compares Southeast Asia’s e-commerce market to China back in 2010, “which means the market is about to explode.”

Despite Internet penetration of about 25 percent in Southeast Asia and mobile penetration as high as 40 percent in certain markets, e-commerce is still less than 1 percent of the total retail market, he says, while advertising is roughly 3 percent of total ad spending, or $18 billion across the Southeast Asia region. The Southeast Asian e-commerce market was worth about $4.5 billion in 2014 and will grow to about $6 billion in 2015, Srivorakul says.

Alibaba recently invested $249 million in Singpost, which was formerly the state postal service for Singapore, but has recently repositioned itself as a profit-generating entity with a logistics network that extends across Southeast Asia.

Singpost competes with aCommerce in terms of order fulfillment and delivery, but aCommerce differentiates with services like channel management and Popshop, a platform that sends brands’ products to first- or third-party websites, apps and marketplaces. It also offers cash-on-delivery in markets that Singpost doesn’t or has low penetration in, like Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines, Srivorakul says.

“Singpost has always had more capital than us (i.e. a market cap of $3 billion) so them raising more money isn’t going to change much. It’s all about execution and we think we have the advantage because of our passion, local experience, tech, local teams, and head start.”

Additional competitors include delivery services like DHL. On the other hand, aCommerce see e-commerce companies with their own logistics networks, like Rocket Internet’s Lazada, as a “channel management partner to feed and manage our clients’ brands and products in their Marketplace.”

“I think the market is too small to really take any competitor too seriously because I think it’s still early and we need to work with everyone to grow the market as a whole rather than undercut each other for a small share,” he adds.

Part of the funding will be used to “reinvent the last-mile customer experience for receiving a package and choosing their preferred payment at their doorstep.

Srivorakul says this means aCommerce’s “delivery fleet will function as an extension of our customer service, and they will be equipped with smartphones with our software that is connected to our cloud platform to plan their delivery routes, get help from our dispatcher, communicate with the end customer, process cash or credit card payments, and handle questions, returns, or complaints at the door. We have to scale up with technology and physical staff until credit card penetration increases and customers are more comfortable with online transactions in our markets.”

In a statement, Tom Kim, partner and co-founder of Inspire Ventures, said “In just one year, aCommerce has built a stacked team of players from Amazon, Walmart, DHL, eBay, Apple, Oracle, McKinsey, Microsoft, and Rocket Internet and expanded into four robust Southeast Asian markets. With their global experience and local expertise, we are confident in this team’s ability to execute and become the dominant e-commerce solutions provider in the region. E-commerce is growing rapidly, and these guys are well positioned to capitalize on this disruptive global trend.”

 Source : Techcrunch

Indonesia’s Touchten tries something new, launches a game for KakaoTalk

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By : TechInAsia

While Indonesia’s mobile industry has abundant potential, it’s game developers who are mostly leading the way. That’s not a bad thing of course. Today there’s a major new development as Indonesian mobile game developer TouchTen has made a game specifically for the KakaoTalk social gaming platform. COO Rokimas Soeharyo says that this is the first ever game made with KakaoTalk’s characters in it. The game, titled Jumpin’ Apeach, lets users play as KakaoTalk’s cartoony characters, such as Apeach, Frodo, Neo, and Jay-G. Jumpin’ Apeach is available in the Indonesian language, but international users can easily understand and play the game too. The gameplay is very simple as you simply have to bounce your way left and right while inside a bubble to get coins – all while evading lots of spiders. The game’s premise is as straightforward as the gameplay: you need to rescue your captured friends through 90 game stages. Regular TouchTen gamers will notice the gameplay similarity to another title from the developer called Fun Toilet Games: Panda Adventure. (See: 3 reasons why CyberAgent Ventures invested in TouchTen) The new game has a contest in which Indonesian gamers can win one of 10 VIP tickets to Asian Dream Cup 2014 where Korean football star Park Ji-Sung and the cast of popular TV series Running Man will make an appearance in Indonesia. The contest period starts tomorrow until May 27. Play to win merchandise Aside from developing games, TouchTen more recently started its game publishing platform. In addition, the startup has made progress by launching a reward platform across its mobile games on Android. This effectively lets users trade in their hard-earned points within TouchTen’s games for rewards like real-world vouchers and discounts. Each TouchTen Android game now has a reward tab on the main screen. Users can generally get one point for each stage they clear on any game as well as bonus points when they achieve certain milestones. For example, users get 50 points when they clear a world in Jumpin’ Apeach. Rewards include a 50 percent discount on dresses on Onfancy (in exchange for 55 points), a Tororo plush bag (5,000 points), and US$25 credit on Airbnb (available for free). Some of these rewards come courtesy of loyalty platform Gimmie World. Jumpin’ Apeach is available only on Android currently. You can download it here.

Read more: Indonesia’s Touchten tries something new, launches a game for KakaoTalk http://www.techinasia.com/indonesias-touchten-launches-game-kakaotalk/

If You Think Indonesia’s e-Commerce Market Is Perplexing, You Haven’t Done Your Research

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From : DailySocial

Several days ago Quartz published an article about the state of the e-commerce industry in Indonesia. The article pointed out the quirky characteristics of the Indonesian market which contribute to the challenges for anyone wishing to operate an online commerce venture in the country. Andrias Ekoyuono of startup incubator Ideosource and Magnus Ekbom of e-commerce giant Lazada weigh in on the matter.

Lily Kuo mentioned in her Quartz article that Indonesia’s large internet population and widespread mobile usage “make it ripe for a big bang in e-commerce”. However, she said that the market isn’t as clear cut as it may seem to be due to a number of factors, making it a “perplexing e-commerce frontier”.

Andrias Ekoyuono disagrees with this notion. “I think the specific matters that occur in any market cannot be considered confusing but certainly adapting to markets is a compulsory undertaking in any line of business. Besides, the current conditions seems to have been laid out well enough”.

Read more : http://en.dailysocial.net/post/if-you-think-indonesias-e-commerce-market-is-perplexing-you-havent-done-your-research