Indonesia opens doors for US investments into local startups

indonesia startups
Image by Inna Bigun | Bigstockphoto

Indonesia is attempting to further accelerate growth in its thriving startup environment with a recently launched online networking event for US investors and VCs to explore collaboration with local startups.

Organized by the Ministry of Communications and Informatics, the event is hosted on JEJALA ID (Joint Exhibition & Junction of start-up Landscape in Indonesia), an integrated, platform-based event management system specifically catering to the country’s startup ecosystem.

“The ministry will continue to encourage and support Indonesian start-ups to remain relevant and responsive towards technology development by facilitating them to attract investment from A Series venture capital, through a matchmaking system of JEJALA ID.” said Semuel Abrijani Pangerapan, Ministry’s Director-General of Informatics Applications.

Over the last year, Indonesia has seen the rise of 2,100 startups and 9 unicorns, making it the region’s second-largest digital technology center after Singapore.

Fintech and e-commerce startups have been particularly successful, with Gojek, Tokopedia, Traveloka, and Bukalapak being some of the big names. Last month, GoTo, a merged entity between Gojek and Tokopedia, raised a staggering $1.3 billion ahead of a local public listing.

A report by the Asian Development Bank notes that revenues for some types of fintech products were higher in 2020 than in 2019. The total values of fintech payment transactions increased to IDR27,547 trillion at the end of 2020 from IDR27,380 trillion at the end of 2019. Meanwhile, the P2P lending position increased from IDR13.2 trillion at the end of 2019 to IDR15.3 trillion at the end of 2020.

Pangerapan said the ultimate aim is for thriving startups to contribute to job creation, economic growth, and digital transformation. JEJALA ID is on top of developing and executing national policies in communication and informatics, and seeks to increase public access to information technology and digital infrastructure as quickly as possible.

Robust growth in tech has been evident throughout the country, not just in the capital Jakarta. The nation’s Omnibus Law, passed in 2020, helps to boost demographics, mobile phone usage, and private equity investment. This legislation also reduced regulatory hurdles for foreign investors.

The country’s largest foreign investor is neighboring Singapore, which has embraced the new law. According to the Singapore Business Federation, the law will create new opportunities in e-commerce, healthcare, construction, warehousing, and distribution, among others.

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