At a power breakfast event hosted by Indonesia’s Ministry of Communications and Informatics (Kemenkominfo) in South Jakarta today, Convergence Ventures Partner Donald Wihardja pointed out that four out 10 unicorn startups in Southeast Asia –Tokopedia, Go-Jek, Traveloka, and Bukalapak– are made in Indonesia.
“They were founded in Indonesia, and reached their unicorn status by working in the Indonesia market,” he stressed.
However, their success was more of the exception than the rule for most startups founded in the country. Through the number of venture capital (VC) investment in the country continues to rise, it remains challenging for most early stage startups to move beyond.
This is where the government comes in with the Next Indonesian Unicorn (Nexticorn) programme.
The result of a collaboration between Kemenkominfo, Indonesian Venture Capital and Startup Association (Amvesindo), and EY, the programme aims to streamline and promote Indonesia’s most investable startups to global investors.
While other government-endorsed programme such as 1000 Startup targeted early stage startups, Nexticorn focusses on middle stage startups looking to raise their Series B funding round.
In addition to promoting Indonesia as a potential market, the programme also aims to connect startups with potential investors. It also aims to launch a centralised directory of startups for potential investors to browse in.
Led by Minister of Communications and Informatics Rudiantara himself as chairman, the programme’s board of advisor features prominent names in the Indonesian startup community such as Wihardja and Venturra Capital Managing Partner Rudy Ramawy.
The programme also named ADSKOM Co-Founder and CEO Italo Gani, Tokopedia CEO and Co-Founder William Tanuwijaya, Go-Jek CEO and co-founder Nadiem Makarim, as well as former OLX Indonesia CEO and ADSvokat co-founder Daniel Tumiwa as brand ambassadors.
“This event was born out of concern from industry players, which the Kemenkominfo has been listening to,” said Lis Sutjiati, Deputy to the Chairman for Nexticorn Strategy Formulation Coordination.
“Today the role of government has gone beyond regulator; it should also serve as a facilitator and even accelerator,” she stressed.
The programme consists of three main parts: The main summit that has been conducted in Bali in May; monthly roadshows to countries such as Singapore, Japan, and the US; as well as the second part of the summit which will be held in conjunction with IMF and World Bank event in Bali in October 13-14.
The event in May has brought over 65 Indonesian startups to meet with 89 potential investors from US, Japan, Singapore, India, Australia, and South Korea. The organiser curated both the startups and investors, and the event resulted in 1,035 meetings between investors and startups with 294 follow-up meetings.
Registration for the event in October has already been opened; though the organiser did not have any specific target for the number of participating startups, they urged them to register as early as possible.
“Indonesia has a lot of potential startups, but it is tough to discover them. This is why a powerful meeting is necessary,” Sutjiati said.