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Michael Soerijadji on the next big things in Indonesian tech

Published on October 26, 2023

The Tech in Asia Jakarta 2023 conference provided an illuminating platform for industry leaders to discuss the future of Indonesia’s startup investing landscape. At the heart of the conversation was Michael Soerijadji of AC Ventures. Alongside him on a panel titled “The Next Big Thing in Indonesia” were Yiping Goh from McKinsey and Kenneth Li from MDI Ventures, with Peter Cowan guiding the session as the moderator.

An accelerated metamorphosis in fintech

Michael discussed how Indonesia’s fintech scene has grown six-fold, from 51 startups in 2011 to 334 by 2022. Initially driven by payments, the sector now includes diverse areas like lending, wealth tech, and new entrants in the software and insurance verticals. 

User engagement tells a similar story. By 2020, local payment platforms had 60 million users, and this figure is projected to grow significantly until 2025. Lending platforms boasted 30 million peer-to-peer borrower accounts in 2021, while wealth tech recorded over 9 million investors by 2022. Innovators like Stockbit, which transformed information sharing for stock investors, and Bibit, a robo-advisory platform, lead the charge, showcasing the ideal blend of traditional and modern financial solutions that will prevail going forward.

“With millions of people now using fintech apps and platforms, and companies like Stockbit and Bibit leading the way, Indonesia is making bold moves with regard to fintech innovation,” said Michael, reflecting on the sector’s accelerated growth.

The rise of electric vehicles and clean energy

Electric vehicles (EVs) quickly became a focal point of discussion, with special consideration to Indonesia’s current EV landscape. The nation’s EV penetration rate is a mere 0.2%. Even more intriguing is that most of this nascent adoption is happening in Greater Jakarta. But with Indonesia setting an ambitious target of 400,000 electric four-wheelers and 1.8 million battery-powered motorbikes by 2025, the wider market is poised for exponential growth.

The broader energy sector in Indonesia also came under the spotlight. As the world grapples with the implications of climate change, Indonesia has set its sights on achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2060. Despite the government’s efforts to phase out coal power plants, renewable sources made up only 15% of the power generation in 2022. 

However, the rise of clean energy startups in the country signals a positive shift. With around 300 startups in the space, a majority of which were initiated in 2019, Indonesia seems determined to transition toward a sustainable energy future.

Startups pioneering a green revolution

Several startups stand out in this green revolution. Koltiva, for instance, is making waves in the agriculture sector, focusing on sustainable farming and supply chain traceability. MAKA Motors, in the transportation sector, aims to revolutionize the electric motorcycle scene in Indonesia. Meanwhile, Xurya is pioneering the solar energy frontier, helping companies deploy solar solutions effectively.

“In the last few years, we’ve seen hundreds of new energy startups pop up. We’re not just hopping onto the global green movement; we’re carving out a unique path that is tailored specifically to local challenges,” explained Michael as the session wrapped up.

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