The increasing internet penetration, smartphone usage, and other consumer technologies have triggered the emergence of digitally-based startups in the last few years. The arrival of foreign venture capitals and business incubator, especially in digital and technology industries, also become one of the factors spark the growth of startups. Seeing the business trend and good potential on this industry, Indonesian billionaires also start building venture capital in digital industry, such as Venturra Capital’s Lippo Group and Djarum Group who own GDP Ventures. This effort is also supported by Indonesian Stock Exchange (IDX), who aids the digital startups to go public by establishing business incubator and organizing a meeting between them and financial authorities.
Though there are enormous supports to build ecosystem for digital startups, especially the e-commerce, but digital startups in Indonesia still face many challenges. The founder and also the CEO of Bubu.com, Shinta Dhanuwardoyo, said that there are at least four challenges for them. “First, it is essential to repair the infrastructure and expand the internet usage outside Java. Second, lack of digital savvy human resources, especially the developers and data scientists. Third, the limited access to finance for the investors. Fourth, the requirements to build healthy startups ecosystem,” she said when she was the speaker during the CMO Chat event at Joseph Wibowo Center, Senayan on Wednesday (4/6)
Then, Shinta tried to offer solutions to overcome these problems, which could hinder the startups development. She initiated Bubu Award since 2001 to identify the potential appraisal in digital industry. “Bubu Award is designed for all talents in digital industry,” she explained. Shinta, who is well known as Shinta Bubu, along with other 15 co-founders, most notably Andi Sadha, Budi Sadikin, Emil Abeng, Erick Thohir, Erik Meijer, Harry Nugraham and Sandiaga Uno, established Angel Investor Network to focus on financing. “Its main purpose is to improve entrepreneur ecosystem by using three means, which are direct investment towards local startups, investment on local incubator, and executing organic growth with hope to create new business opportunities through strategic partnerships between the startups and angel investors,” she explained.
What can digital startups do to make the angel investor such as Shinta Bubu interested? Shinta said that there are several key factors to become a world-class startup. First, the founders should have strong entrepreneur mentality and good solid team. Second, they should produce good and authentic products. Third, their products should have the ability to solve problems or target the right market. Fourth, they should create local content with global reach. Fifth, they should have consistent consumer base.
Sandiaga Uno, who also spoke during the event, supported Shinta Bubu’s opinion, especially regarding the local content. “Indonesia has a lot of local content. It’s a huge potential if it is used properly and globally marketed as the consumers of digital business are worldwide. For example, the developer of Dreadout, a game with local content and quite famous abroad, or local hijab brands who can target Muslim consumers in other countries,” said Sandi.
Shinta is one of the digital company pioneers in Indonesia. She started her first digital agency back in 1996, even when Google hasn’t existed yet. At that time, the main task of her agency was to build a company website. During the early 2000s, she actively build other dot-com companies. In the year 2000 to 2006, she was trying to build six dot-com companies, nasgor.com (entertainment portal), koridor.com (political news portal), mailkita.com (free email portal for students), musikita.com (music portal), lalulelang.com (mobile commerce), and katakancinta.com (mobile based match maker site).
However, she experienced business failure with those six companies, something that she took as valuable lesson and experience for her future. “I often see something too early and build something when the market is not ready yet. That failure only makes me stronger and I learn from that. It also makes me realize how strong the internet is as a media,” she recalled her experience to conclude the event.
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