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Indonesian Startup Trends

Hello WU Friends

Indonesia’s startup scene is one of the fastest growing in Southeast Asia and in the world.

Home of innovative companies like GO-Jek and Tokopedia, there is no shortage of ventures and creative solutions to everyday problems. Here’s what you need to know about what’s coming in 2018.

1) Fintech, fintech, fintech:

Fintech companies are popping up everywhere in Indonesia.

And for good reason – according to the Asian Development Bank, 78% of the population remains unbanked. That presents a huge opportunity for fintech companies, which are quickly becoming more and more attractive to investors. Companies such as Koinworks (a peer-to-peer lending platform), Midtrans (payment gateway), and UangTeman (microcredit) are taking the spotlight.

Today, there are over 150 fintech startups in the country – a 78 % increase from 2015.

2) Going cashless:

Indonesian startups are looking to go cashless in the near future.

Following suit with trends in nearby China, efforts are being made to have transactions done with a few taps of your screen. A few companies are looking to dominate the cashless game: namely TCash, GO-Pay and OVO. Due to regulations – especially with the e-money license required – the barrier to entry is high.

Thus, it may take a few more years until the cashless dream can be achieved.

3) AI – our robot overlords:

Of course, no conversation about startups can avoid the mention of artificial intelligence.

Increasingly, startups are integrating AI more creatively into their services and finding innovative use cases. Chatbots – which a few years ago were just fun web applications that you could teach to say bad words – are beginning to revolutionize the way we interact with companies, handle customer service, gather data, and increase accessibility.

In addition, as our lives become more and more digitized, a growing amount of data is being collected by companies in order to learn about our behaviors. Whether you’re aware of it or not, these companies probably know your personal information, your daily commute to and from work, and even your Facebook toilet browsing habits.

As a result, products and services will be increasingly tailored to our lives — and we will increasingly live online.

4) Lower barriers to entry for startups:

There’s never been a better time to be an entrepreneur in Indonesia.

It will still be difficult to become the next Go-Jek, no doubt. However, both government and private sector initiatives realize the importance of growing the ecosystem to be friendlier to newcomers. Co-working spaces are flooding big cities; startup assistance organizations such as Plug and Play, UnLTD, and GnB are growing in number; and both local and overseas investors are paying more attention to the archipelago.

In addition, platforms like are making it easier to find fundraising options for startups by automating the process and mapping out the ecosystem.

In short, if you have an idea, go for it!

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