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More Money, Fewer Problems for Indonesian Startups

President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo wants Indonesia to be the “The Digital Energy of Asia”, an ambition he shared with many when he visited Silicon Valley early this year.

The Ministry of Communications and Information has now joined hands with KIBAR — a local startup incubator company — to create 1,000 digital startups worth $10 billion by 2020 make the President’s dream come true.

The program will be rolled out in ten cities — Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya, Yogyakarta, Semarang, Malang, Medan, Denpasar, Makassar and Pontianak — and, according to Communications Minister Rudiantara, will help local startups begin their venture.

“They’re startups. There are always risks for failure. We want to help them along,” Rudiantara said, as quoted on the ministry’s website.

A strong capital is still what often makes or breaks a startup. The following are four Indonesian startups with the largest capital funding in 2015:


Indonesian e-commerce giant reportedly received $500 million in 2015 from holding company Lippo Group, a local conglomerate who owns Matahari department store, one of the country’s largest offline retailers. The company has set an ambitious target to become a driving force in the Indonesian e-commerce scene and rival two largest e-commerce sites in the world, Alibaba and Rakuten.

The investment has so far been used to revamp its management team, develop its online service infrastructure and build a marketplace which brings together sellers and consumers all over Indonesia. The company is eyeing $1 billion in sales within two years.

Last year appointed Hadi Wenas as CEO and Emirsyah Satar — former CEO of Garuda Indonesia — as chairman.

“ is an online marketplace where everyone can buy everything, and anyone can sell anything, including electronics, retail and lifestyle products,” Hadi said.


One of the country’s oldest e-commerce ventures, Bhinneka Mentari Dimensi, the company behind online store and marketplace, secured $22 million in extra funding in November last year from Ideosource, a local venture capital which also invested in online media and Stockbit, an online platform that provides stock information and analysis.

The Jakarta-based venture capital is managed by Andi S. Boediman and Edward Ismawan Chamdani, who are also in the Board of Directors at, along with Hendrik Tio, its CEO. Bhinneka has used the investment to improve its mobile app and social media presence.

The investment has pushed closer to an eventual IPO in 2018, a major milestone for a company that started off as a computer supplier in 1995. Its online migration happened almost accidentally, brought on by the 1998 economic crisis which forced the company to cut overheads and start selling its products on the internet.

The company booked a triple-digit growth in sales last year, said Leo Antonius, the company’s business expansion director, as it added a marketplace service to its webstore and convinced 2,600 merchants to use the service along with offices in Jakarta, Surabaya, Medan, Makassar and Bandung. plans to more than double the number of its branch offices to 35 by the end of this year to strengthen its market reach across Indonesia, Leo said.

3. Happyfresh

Online grocery store Happyfresh earned $12 million in funding last year from Vertex Ventures, Singapore’s oldest venture capital firm and a division of the island country’s state investor Temasek Holdings, and local venture capital Sinar Mas Digital Ventures, part of the conglomerate Sinar Mas Group.

Vertex was an early investor in Grab, the Singapore-based ride-hailing service, and Reboonz, an online store selling luxury products. Other investors in the funding round were the Asia Venture Group, BEENEXT, Ardent Capital, 500 Startups and Cherry Ventures.

Happyfresh has big ambitions to turn the company into one of the largest food-tech groups in Asia. The Jakarta-based startup already has overseas presence in Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines.

Happyfresh was launched in 2014 in Indonesia and Malaysia. It allows customers to shop for groceries online by partnering with retail stores.

Happyfresh has done well to take advantage of traffic gridlocks in Jakarta and Surabaya, offering the service of a personal shopper who would handpick supermarket items and deliver the products in less than an hour to the customer’s doorstep.

The men behind the startup are Marcus Bihler, the co-founder and also chief executive, Benjamin Koelmann, COO, and Fajar A. Budiprasetyo, CTO.

4. Qraved

The Jakarta-based food delivery startup received $8 million in 2015 from Richmond Global Ventures, a US-based venture capital which has aggressively invested in startups in China, India and other emerging markets, and also Gobi Partners, a Chinese venture capital focusing on investment in IT and digital media.

Qraved’s other investors include GWC, Convergence Ventures, 500 Startups, Toivo Annus and M&Y Partners. The money has been used to expand its services in several cities in Java including Bandung.

Qraved is in a head-to-head competition with Zomato Indonesia, a local arm of the Indian online food delivery giant. Qraved’s selling points are its curated restaurant articles and its online community for food bloggers, called Qraved Journal. Qraved’s co-founder and CEO Steven Kim has also founded three other startups: Zalora, Wimdu and Officefab.

Source: The Jakarta Globe