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Listing Domestically: Pandu Sjahrir of Indies Capital and AC Ventures

Original post by Indo Tekno Podcast

Our guest this week, Pandu Sjahrir, is one of Indonesia’s best known tech investors and operating executives. Actively involved in the management of four leading companies, Pandu was also recently appointed Board Member of the Indonesia Stock Exchange (or IDX). He joins us to outline the growing attractions of IPO’ing on the IDX for Indonesia’s tech start-up’s.

Pandu describes his main mandate as “hunting Indonesian elephants”: he is actively encouraging Indo’s largest tech companies to list domestically in the belief that, with such valuable precedent, the IDX will be able to eventually develop a thriving ecosystem of listed tech companies. The benefits of listing domestically to the tech entrepreneur he argues are numerous: from valuable MSCI index inclusion (and thus demand from absolutely massive pools of passive moneys), to the fiscal attractions of a 0.1%-0.5% capital gains tax, to a declining corporate income tax and the support of dual class shares.

Pandu views recent recent mix shifts on the IDX over the past year as very positive: retail accounts have doubled to 3.2m and local investors have risen from 45% to 60% of market ownership. He also candidly discusses where Indo’s IPO ecosystem needs to mature, in areas such as board membership, governance and transparency of reporting.

Pandu also shares generously other insights from his various current roles as Chairman of Sea Group Indonesia, Managing Director of alternative asset manager Indies Capital, Founding Partner of leading early stage venture fund ACVentures, and CFO of leading mining group Toba Bara Sejahtra.

The pandemic has revealed the real grit and leadership amongst Pandu’s most talented entrepreneurs, and punished those with more mercenary intentions. Pandu’s advice for the IPO aspirant: now is the time to consider an IPO, but be sure to prepare for scrutiny and other new challenges.

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AC Ventures announces the first close of its $80 million fund for Indonesian startups

Original post by TechCrunch

As one of the world’s most populated countries, with a fast-growing internet economy, Indonesia offers plenty of opportunity for startups. AC Ventures wants to tap into that with its $80 million ACV Capital III L.P. fund. The firm announced the first close of the fund today, with $56 million already committed.

The capital will be invested into 30 Indonesian startups over the next three years, with first checks of up to $3 million going to seed to Series A-stage companies.

Based in Jakarta with a team of twelve people, ACV  is a strategic alliance between AC Ventures  and Indies Capital. ACV’s founding partners are Adrian Li and Michael Soerijadji, both founders and managing partners at AC Ventures, and Indies Capital managing partner Pandu Sjahrir. Sjahrir is also on the board of two Indonesian unicorns, Gojek and Sea.

The alliance has already made investments in nine startups: Shipper, Kargo, Stockbit, Bukuwarung, ESB, Co-Learn, KitaBeli, Aruna and Soul Parking. It will focus on e-commerce, financial tech, startups that serve MSMEs (or micro, small and medium-sized enterprises) and digital media-enabled services, which Li told TechCrunch could encompass sectors like education and healthcare, in addition to entertainment.

ACV also plans to work closely with the companies it invests in, guiding them through business development, key executive hires and later rounds of funding. Its also launched programs like AC Academy to coach founders on skills like growth hacking and fundraising.

Internet penetration and online payments have grown a lot over the past five years, but e-commerce still accounts for a tiny fraction of Indonesia’s overall retail market. This gives startups plenty of room to innovate. For example, logistics is very fragmented in Indonesia, because it has 600 inhabited islands. Shipper, another ACV investment, offers a platform to help sellers manage multiple shipments through different providers at once.

Fundraising for ACV Capital III began before the COVID-19 pandemic and despite the crisis’ economic toll, Li said that in countries like Indonesia, it may speed up the adoption of many kinds of technology. For example, BukuWarung, which focuses on digitizing operations for neighborhood shops and other small businesses, recently launched digital payments in response to demand for online orders and contactless payments. Another ACV portfolio company, ESB, is doing the same thing for restaurants, and Li said interest in its services increased as food and beverage businesses turned to online orders and deliveries during social distancing measures.

“We’re really seeing some great opportunities in Indonesia, and we’re seeing more interest globally going into startups in Indonesia,” said Li. “This is the world’s fourth most populous country and there are so many products and services which can be delivered better and more efficiently through technology.”

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Indonesia’s AC Ventures Targets New $80 Million Startup Fund

Original post by Bloomberg

AC Ventures, an Indonesia-focused venture capital firm, said it completed the first close of a planned $80 million technology investment fund.

The Jakarta-based company raised $56 million at the first close, according to its partners. The fund will invest in about 30 early-stage startups in areas including e-commerce and financial technology in the next three years.

AC Ventures was established in 2019 after two homegrown Indonesian VC firms — Agaeti Ventures and Convergence Ventures — merged to create scale. Its three founding partners are Pandu Sjahrir and Michael Soerijadji, previously general partners of Agaeti Ventures, and Adrian Li, the former founder of Convergence Ventures. Together, they have backed more than 100 tech ventures.

The firm will have a strategic alliance with Indies Capital, an alternative asset manager with more than $600 million of assets under management where Sjahrir serves as a managing partner. One of its funds, Indies Pelago, invests in late-stage technology startups in Southeast Asia.

With the new fund, AC Ventures plans to make an initial investment of as much as $3 million in each startup. It has put money into companies such as logistics startup Kargo and BukuWarung, a bookkeeping app built for 60 million micro-merchants in the country.

“With AC Ventures, we can invest across the spectrum — from very early-stage, to growth and late-stage startups,” Sjahrir said in an interview. “The Covid-19 era has shown entrepreneurs with grit, and investment companies that can put capital to work.”

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Pandu Sjahrir Reveals His Dream Scenario in Indonesia’s Tech Industry

Original post by Daily Social

In the past few years, Pandu Sjahrir has captured spotlights all over the tech industry. From the Chairman of SEA Group Indonesia, Board Member of Gojek, and the latest one is appointed to be the youngest IDX’s Commissioners.

Starting off with a productive hobby of investing, he currently has a full-time business as a professional and one of Southeast Asia’s leading investors in the seed and early growth stages. He is also the Managing Partner of Indies Capital, which controls Indies Special Opportunities Fund, the leading alternative asset manager in the region, and Indies Pelago, a secondary tech fund in Southeast Asia. And most recent, is the new entity called AC Ventures.

With the economic-mindset runs in his genes, Pandu Sjahrir managed to survive through a financial struggle and admit to not afraid of failure. As long as he has a very supportive family and a strong team on his side. He has quite a big dream for Indonesia’s tech industry, and here’s the scenario.

As an active investor with a focus on the growth companies, how do you see the current investment landscape in Indonesia during COVID-19 pandemic?

Pre-COVID is a different world than today, technology has become a much bigger part of the business. Every quarter, the number increases very strongly because of the adoption. In terms of shopping, playing games, even now working and studying online. People are adapting to this new world using technology platforms to connect to each other. That also changes the way we should look at investing. Starting from businesses that can benefit from this new way of relating, communication, or interacting. In fact, life goes on and people still have to do their daily needs, but the way to deliver has changed. We have to be very open-minded about the new COVID-19 world, on how should we look at the new world stage.

Another thing worth mentioning is the role of deglobalization. What happens in the US companies doesn’t t necessarily translate into happening in Indonesia. The same thing applies to China companies. We’re seeing more local solutions to everyday problems, not necessarily a global solution. What’s good about what has happened within the last 30 years of this “globalization” has been the improvement of human capital as well as tier countries, developing countries turning into more developed countries.

Where do you think Indonesia will be in this deglobalization era?

Indonesia will be Indonesia. As globalization shaped our economic development as well as other large countries, with billion-dollar companies that now exist in our economic portfolios, we will eventually find local solutions. If that makes it a thesis, obviously, it’ll take time. In terms of logistics, our world is actually a global supply chain as we still rely on other countries to develop a product. Imagine if it’s true a lot of countries to become deglobalized. Indeed, it’s another reason to do the risk assessment.

Interestingly, there used to be a big trust deficit in new companies in Indonesia. Our previous generation might not be as digital-minded, but today generation actually adopts and capable of giving trust. Not only for those over-20 year big companies run by the government or state-own institutions but also for the past 10 year companies. Imagine the fact of all these tech companies have done in the last decade and also the behavior of the younger generation willing to give a try. Nowadays, that’s obviously quite prevailing. It takes time to build trust.

You’re first known as the Executive of Toba Bara Sejahtera, also head of the related association. However, in the past few years, you’ve seen quite active in the Indonesian tech sector. What triggers you to chip in the digital industry?

When I finally moved back to Jakarta for the family business in the energy sector, my family was barely into digital. Therefore, it was basically just me. I was the first employee at Toba, built the name Toba Bara and took it public in 2012.

In fact, I started investing in technology in 2013-2014, but quietly. Back then, nobody even knows the name of the companies, starting from Garena turn into SEA, but then Shopee was the company that they built. I’ve been doing it for the last 7 years, but nobody knows until the last couple of years due to the company’s increasing popularity.

During this time, I met fellow investors, also learned this and that along the way. It was practically my own capital until around 2017, I joined Indies Capital, a leading alternative asset manager focusing on Southeast Asia, especially Indonesia. And recently, the new entity called AC Ventures. It was actually just a productive hobby that turned into a full-time business. Now, people know me as an investor, early-stage to many different things.

You’re recently appointed as IDX commissioner, what kind of plans do you have in mind to drive the Indonesian tech business to a better future?

The aim goes further in 10-12 years ahead. In fact, America’s top ten companies are technology companies. In Indonesia, it is still being dominated by banking and telco companies –exactly how it was 10 years ago. It is our job to capture the economic value of all these technology companies to get there. I’d like to call them outliers, amazing companies growing really fast, to look at Indonesia, to be listed, and set us as the main destination.

Next, deepening the capital market and providing a safe and reliable investment towards a better future. There’s always this kind or two issues, essentially with today’s institutions.  We have to be proactive in terms of managing that issue. We have to be able to say, “We are investor-friendly, especially minority investors, and we’re able to have great companies listed in Indonesia.” Following our goal to be the top five economies in the world by 2025, our capital market has to be there as well.

At your current position(s), have you had any difficulty to cope up with the fast-moving industry? Would you share some stories, bad decisions, rough season, or any kind of hardships?

It was one of my darkest, after experiencing the loss of a family member also down in financial. I invested a lot, I failed a bit. Along the way, I learn how to manage risk better and more to this lesson. However, I was glad to know the fact that it couldn’t be more at a bottom than that. As long as it doesn’t kill me, financially, I’m okay. I learned a lot about people that way. In the end, I invest in principles, character, and business models.

Failure is inevitable, but how you stand up again is what matters. It’s classic, but it’s true. I’m so glad to have a great family, a supportive wife who also very active in building her business, and a lovely daughter. In terms of work, we’ve turned into a strong team.

To be honest, the Covid-19 situation should’ve let me down, instead, I feel personally healthy and thankful. Although, the whole uncertainty creates such a financial effect that I and most other people can’t deny. I always taught myself that this is just like the other crisis where you have to go through before you start to adapt.

On what or who can you attribute the current success or achievement? Do you have any figure, or role model, that keeps your dream high, or the kind of support system that stops you from giving up?

When it comes to role models, my father is one. He was an idealist, somehow it’s really got to me how he used to think. Also, my mother is also a very strong-minded person, as well as my uncle who is now served as one of the Indonesian ministers. He also the one who encouraged me to moved back to Indonesia and helped me understand this country better through his point of view.

Interesting story, it started off when my parents told me “We have no legacy for you other than education and work ethic”. Instantly, the fear of having nothing to live off hits me and that encouraged me to start working early. If I won’t be inherited anything material, I better make my own. This is also the beginning of my investing hobby. Otherwise, the family will always be my number one support system.

In terms of educational background, do you think it’s a privilege to be able to study abroad and learn about other country’s mindset?

Having both parents who only cared about education is quite a mixed feeling. They’re really concerned about the way I put up with mine that they sent me abroad to provide the best-guaranteed education. Back then it was in the US. I studied economics in Chicago and later went to Standford for business school. I met a bunch of tech-based companies and lots of friends.

Fortunately, living abroad gives me a sense of discipline due to the high-cost and everything in between. Moving back to Jakarta, it was very hard for a New Yorker-minded person like me. For the first two to three years, Indonesia was very difficult. However, from listening well and communicating well, I’m learning progressively to make better decisions. I have my lessons by living abroad, but moving back to Indonesia is another blessing.

Have you ever picture yourself as a tech founder? Given the circumstances of most VCs in Indonesia also created by ex-Founders or formerly working at tech companies.

I haven’t thought that far. I’ve never put myself or thought of myself that way. It’s simply a blessing the fact that I mattered enough to have this conversation. I don’t think I’m quite enough to be said an expert in marketing. My mindset is always been about investing first. I still have a lot to learn.

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As IDX commissioner, this is how Pandu Sjahrir aims to help more Indonesian startups go public

Original post by e27

On Monday, June 22, in Jakarta, the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) released the list of its new commissioners for the 2020-2023 period, which is to be confirmed through an annual general stakeholder meeting today.

One of them was a familiar name in the local, perhaps even regional, tech startup ecosystem: Pandu Sjahrir.

Currently holding the position of Founding Partner of AC Ventures, Sjahrir has a long track record in the startup scene. He is widely known for his involvement in leading names such as gojek (as Board Member) and Sea Group (Chairman of Indonesia) as well as Xurya (Board Member) and Antler (Advisory Board).

He is also the Managing Partner of Indies Capital, which controls Indies Special Opportunities Fund, the leading alternative asset manager in the region, and Indies Pelago, a secondary tech fund in Southeast Asia.

Outside of the startup ecosystem, Sjahrir is the CFO of publicly listed energy company PT. Toba Bara Sejahtera Tbk, that was selected as Forbes’ Top 30 leading companies in Indonesia.

“My goal here is to find an outlier,” he speaks to e27 over the phone.

In this special interview, the startup investor reveals more details about the vision and mission for IDX –and how he is going to bring more Indonesian startups to get listed on the stock exchange.

A FRESH START FOR IDX

Sjahrir begins our conversation by explaining the stock exchange goals in the next period: Increasing the participation of the younger generation –particularly Gen Y and Z– in the capital market and encouraging Indonesian tech startups to go public.

“As you might be aware of, there has not been any major tech company listed on the IDX,” he points out.

“It’s a completely different story with China and the US where the top 10 capitalisations are owned by tech companies. In Indonesia, it is still being dominated by banking and telco companies –exactly how it was 10 years ago,” Sjahrir continues.

He further elaborates how these two goals will support each other. By having more younger investors, major tech companies such as the local unicorns are expected to consider listing in Indonesia instead of other capital markets.

“We need to take a more active role in preventing them from leaving to other capital markets. Because we have to remember: The bigger guys, they have options,” Sjahrir warns.

By having these “cool” tech companies on IDX, the younger generation is also expected to be more interested in investing in the capital market.

“What we are doing here is deepening the demand, particularly by having more young investors on board. This is something that starts with education about the capital market,” Sjahrir says.

TROUBLE IN THE ECOSYSTEM?

In 2017, Kioson and M Cash made headlines when they became the first local tech startups to get listed on IDX, followed by several other companies.

These movements had led to speculation in the media on the possibilities for major tech startups in Indonesia –particularly the unicorns and decacorns– to have their IPOs soon after. But three years have passed and we are still waiting for these companies to make their move.

What will be the stock exchange’s strategy to encourage these unicorns to get listed on IDX, and not anywhere else?

“We have to be more market-friendly in various aspects, [starting] from regulation to the founder’s shares treatment. Like in the US, there is a difference in the treatment, and this is what Indonesia is currently studying. There is also got to be minority shareholder protection, which OJK is concerned about,” Sjahrir states.

But what is actually the challenges faced by Indonesian startups that have been preventing them from being listed? According to Sjahrir, there are two main hurdles: Profitability and founder shares treatment.

“The latter is the part where we are still ‘stuck’ on. In the US, founders are allowed to have different voting rights. We aim to address these issues to remain competitive with the other stock exchanges,” he says.

THE FOCUS

In this new period, IDX aims to get 20 to 40 companies on board, but Sjahrir says that they do not wish to be burdened by quantity. There is got to be a focus on the quality as well, he stresses.

“We need to start with the mindset first, how to capitalise on tech companies in Indonesia. Because the main difference between us and Singapore and Thailand is that our capital market is smaller than our GDP,” Sjahrir points out.

“So our focus is on how to increase the market capitalisation of the companies on the stock exchange,” he closes.

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Dikabarkan Bakal Jadi Komisaris BEI, Siapa Pandu Sjahrir?

 

Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – Bursa Efek Indonesia (BEI) bakal melaksanakan Rapat Umum Pemegang Saham Tahunan (RUPST). Salah satu agenda yang akan dilaksanakan adalah pergantian komisaris BEI.

Berdasarkan dokumen Otoritas Jasa Keuangan (OJK) yang diterima CNBC Indonesia, terdapat tiga nama baru yang dicalonkan menjadi komisaris dan akan diangkat dalam RUPST tersebut. Terdapat tiga nama baru yang akan mengisi jabatan ini yang akan menggantikan perwakilan perusahaan sekuritas dan emiten.

Berikut calon komisaris yang dicalonkan tersebut:

Komisaris : Mohammad Noor Rachman Soejoeti

Komisaris : Heru Handayanto

Komisaris : Karman Pamurahardjo

Komisaris : Pandu Patria Sjahrir

Salah satu dari tiga nama tersebut adalah Pandu Patria Sjahrir yang menjadi perwakilan dari emiten. Saat ini Pandu menjabat sebagai Direktur di PT Toba Bara Sejahtra Tbk (TOBA).

Lalu sebenarnya siapa Pandu?

Dia merupakan putra dari ekonom Sjahrir dan juga keponakan dari pemilik perusahaan Toba Bara, yakni Menteri Koordinator Kemaritiman dan Investasi Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan. Diangkat menjadi direktur di perusahaan ini pada 1 Oktober 2010.

Dikutip dari website resmi Toba Bara, Pandu lahir di Boston, Amerika Serikat pada 1979 dan saat ini berdomisili di Jakarta. Meraih gelar Sarjana dari University of Chicago, Amerika Serikat dan Master of Business Administration dari Stanford Graduate School of Business, Amerika Serikat.

Sebelum di Toba Bara, dia pernah menjabat sebagai Analis Senior spesialisasi sektor energi dan pertambangan di Matlin & Patterson pada 2007-2010. Kemudian sebagai Principal di Byun & Co, Alternative Energy Fund Asia (2002 – 2005) dan sebagai Analis di Lehman Brothers (2001 – 2002).

Selain di korporasi, Pandu juga aktif pada perusahaan-perusahaan startup. Dilansir dari Linkedin, Pandu telah menjadi komisaris di Gojek Indonesia sejak April 2017. Dia juga menjadi Chairman di SEA Indonesia, perusahaan yang menaungi marketplace Shopee.

Dia juga aktif di perusahaan modal ventura dengan menjabat sebagai Managing Partner di Indies Capital Partner dan General Partner di Agaeti Venture Capital.

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VENTURE CAPITAL FIRMS COME TOGETHER TO #SUPPORTSTARTUPS IN COVID-19 SOUTHEAST ASIAN GROUND-UP MOVEMENT

JAKARTA, May 14, 2020 – Openspace Ventures, MDI Ventures, and AC Ventures have launched a national initiative harnessing consumer and business spending to uplift the Southeast Asian start-up ecosystem in these uncertain times. This initiative followed the initial success of Singapore’s #SupportStartups initiative that was launched by Openspace Ventures, 500 Startups, and Cocoon Capital.

In a bid to provide an immediate boost to start-up revenues, the three venture capital firms are collating all promotional activities offered by startups across the archipelago under a single mission, #StartupBergerakBersama.

The offers will be featured on a combined website (id.supportstartups.com), leveraging the strength of the ecosystem to drive traffic to start-ups.

The 30 businesses currently listed on the website include B2C and B2B outfits across multiple sectors including fashion, F&B, logistics, e-commerce, enterprise SAAS, co-working space and digital wealth management. To promote social responsibility, and in line with government guidelines, events that encourage travel or physical gatherings will not be listed at this time.

fAmazon Web Services (AWS) is offering US$5,000 in promotional credits to each eligible startup that registers in the program. The credits will be provided under the AWS Activate program, which provides startups with low cost, easy-to-use infrastructure needed to scale and grow their business.

Hian Goh, partner at Openspace Ventures, said “Openspace’s efforts in responding to this crisis extend beyond our immediate portfolio to the larger ecosystem of start-ups. We know that all startups are at risk, and we need to try to protect them all. This is our community, and #SupportStartups is our way of saying that we’re 100% in this together”.

“Since the start of the COVID outbreak in Indonesia, MDI Ventures has launched a number of initiatives such as our weekly webinars and IndonesiaBergerak.com with the purpose of spreading information on the outbreak and insight how businesses can operate in current times. #StartupBergerakBersama will be the first initiative that helps startups gain traction in these tough times with our fellow VC friends. It is really great to see the ecosystem putting self interest aside to help one another and we are more than happy to collaborate with OpenSpace and AC Ventures on this.” said Donald Wihardja, CEO of MDI Ventures.

Laura Lestari, Senior Investment Associate from AC Ventures also added “since the start of this pandemic, we have been working with our portfolios on how to navigate through this crisis. It is uplifting to see so many collaborative efforts to help each other during this crisis. We hope, with Openspace and MDI, #StartupBergerakBersama can be one of the many platforms helping everyone to get through these challenging times.”

Interested start-ups with businesses in Indonesia are encouraged to submit their promotions via the website at http://id.supportstartups.com.

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Stepping Up: VCs in Southeast Asia roll out initiatives to support startups during COVID-19

Original post by KrAsia 

Last year, technology advisory firm North Ridge Partners said in its 2019 Southeast Asia Internet Trends report that Southeast Asia is the world’s most compelling digital hotspot—another technology miracle after China and India. The report, however, also cautioned about many uncertainties as the world was heading into 2020: the trade war, US election year, IPO market. It particularly noted that when the world sneezes, Southeast Asia will catch a cold.

No one could have predicted the scale of COVID-19. The world is reeling from an unprecedented pandemic and the Southeast Asian economy, which recently went through a fundamental digital transformation, is surely feeling the chilling effects.

However, promising efforts from the startup ecosystem are gaining momentum and provide much-needed support for young companies and its employees in this difficult times. Click here to find the list of initiatives tracked by KrASIA.

ONLY REMOTELY

Ondine Capital pledged up to USD 10 million for a project named Snap Investment Program, in order to fund Southeast Asian startups that are affected by COVID-19. All the decision-making and the investment process will be made remotely. Deals are capped at USD 1.5 million and have to close within a 6-week timeframe. One investment committee member will join the projects from day one.

SEARIOUSLY AWESOME PEOPLE

Several VC firms in the region such as Jungle Ventures, Alpha JWC, Convergence Ventures (now known as AC Ventures following the recent merge with Agaeti) have launched a community initiative to support laid-off staff from startups in the region. A public list of “SEAriously Awesome People” offers affected employees the opportunity to find a new job. The list is shared on different social media channels of the participating VC firms. The organizers hope to “surface awesome talent, help folks find new jobs and help growing startups find top talent asap.”

MEET YOUR STARTUP MATCH

KK Fund is spearheading a region-wide initiative to match SEA startups with top tier investors in the region, entirely virtually of course. “Meet your Match” will support companies in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Taiwan. More than 80 investors have committed to participate. Information about how to sign up in respective countries can be found here.

SPECIAL SITUATIONS FUND

Singapore-based TNB Aura has launched a Special Situations Fund, backing impacted tech firms with nearly USD 2 million each. Co-founder and managing partner Vicknesh R Pillay sees this as an opportunity to support great companies which are facing near-term cash flow problems. Providing an extended runway of 12-18 months, the fund aims to aid startups, so they can focus again on their targeted milestones.

SUPPORTING MALAYSIA’S SMES

The Malaysia Venture Capital & Private Equity Association (MVCA) has started a joint initiative, together with several regional venture capital firms such as Vynn Capital, Cradle Seed Ventures, Kejora Ventures Malaysia, and RHL Ventures, providing advisory support to startups in Malaysia. The four venture capital firms have committed to offer strategic advice, including on financing and fundraising, for startups and entrepreneurs in need.

VIRTUAL PANEL SESSIONS

Golden Gate Ventures created a site with online resources for startups. The firm held a series of virtual panel sessions that were livestreamed on March 24, with over 250 attendees tuning in. They concluded on a note of optimism: The panellists see people, firms, and governments in Southeast Asia starting to communicate and collaborate more openly than ever.

“VIRTECH” ACCELERATOR

Singapore-based Expara recently floated the Expara VirTech Global Accelerator. The firm is looking for entrepreneurs and startups who are developing products and services that help fight COVID-19 and future viruses. “We believe there must be many innovative solutions to the wide range of challenges we are now facing,” the company stated. Entrepreneurs can apply for the categories Detection, Information, Prevention and Protection, as well as Mitigation, which covers quality of life and work efficiency during and after the pandemic.

USD 500,000 FOR STARTUPS

Likewise, Antler, the early-stage venture capital firm, announced that it will invest a total of up to USD 500,000 in startups tackling the virus. Areas of interest for this initiative are Mitigation (masks, contact tracing, surveillance, data infrastructure), Medical equipment (test kits, protective devices, ventilators), Remote health (telehealth, remote patient monitoring, symptom checkers), and Digital tools (remote work, smart delivery, e-learning).

SEND ME AN ANGEL

Singaporean angel investor AngelCentral assembled a list of resources on available grants and documentation for the community. The partners Shao-Ning Huang, Der Shing Lim, and Teck Moh Phey are hosting twice-weekly one-hour sessions to help startups with their problems. The company is making clear that the talks are strictly only for founders facing trouble due to the current environment.

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Private: Indonesia is ripe for further disruption by tech-enabled firms: Adrian Li of AC Ventures

Original post by e27.

The 60M MSMEs drive half of Indonesia’s economy but the vast majority do not use any tech-enabled services. This is a huge opportunity

Agaeti Ventures and Convergence Ventures, two active venture capital firms in Indonesia, has announced their merger this morning. AC Ventures (ACV), as the new entity is known, will continue to make early-stage investments.

The merger has been in the works since the third quarter of last year. According to Adrian Li, one of the Partners of ACV, the objective is to consolidate the resources of both firms “to create a platform of exponential value that can provide significant support to our portfolio founders as they build and scale successful businesses across Indonesia, the largest market in Southeast Asia”.

In this interview with e27, Li talks about ACV’s plans, the COVID-19 crisis, and more.

Edited excerpts:

What was the primary motive for the merger? Where do you see a ‘convergence’ of interests for both? Does it have anything to do with the current COVID-19 crisis?

Our primary motive was to combine the experience, network and teams of both platforms to form a stronger overall venture firm. Our prior firms both had similar strategies — our focus on Indonesia, early-stage technology, as well as we believe in being strong operating partners of founders.

Also Read: Indonesian VC firms Convergence and Agaeti merge to form AC Ventures

It has nothing to do with the current crisis as the merger has been in the works since Q3 2019.

What is the total size of ACV?

We are currently in the process of working on the new fund. Given the present macro environment, we do not have the total size confirmed.

The press release says ACV will continue to make early-stage investments in Indonesia. Do you expect to cut bigger cheques, given the rapidly-changing market dynamics?

Our plan for ACV is to invest in early-stage companies from a few hundred thousand to a few million US dollars.

Does ACV have special focus on any particular vertical? Also have you made any investment from ACV yet? Can you share the names?

The investment thesis of the new fund continues their prior funds’ respective successful investment strategies of investing in Indonesia-focused, early-stage, technology opportunities.

In particular, the teams are seeking investment opportunities into areas of e-commerce, digital content enabled services, financial technologies and MSME enabling technology.

We have made investments in several ventures to date. We will be announcing them in due course.

The COVID-19 is ravaging industries. Do you think the crisis will alter the startup landscape for ever if the situation persists longer than expected?

COVID-19 crisis is different compared to previous financial recessions; in this situation, there are serious health considerations. Quarantines and lockdowns are forcing people to change behaviours and driving faster adoption to technology such as online education, health consultation, digital entertainment and e-commerce.

Also Read: The global financial crisis gave birth to fintech. What will COVID-19 recession bring?

Like all crises, economies and societies will recover. This time, technology- enabled businesses will be better positioned than ever to serve consumers and businesses.

How can startups come out of this crisis?

The COVID-19 crisis affects startups asymmetrically. Some are experiencing a surge in demand such as online education and e-commerce and delivery. Others, such as travel and hospitality, have seen revenue go to zero.

In all cases, startup ventures, which are dependent on investor funding and are still burning cash, will need to focus on conserving cash and ensuring their survival during this period. Once the market recovers, those who are best capitalised will be best positioned to gain market share and grow.

What are the trends in the early-stage VC investment space in Indonesia?

Increasingly funds are seeking out opportunities that focus on the MSME space and moving on from pure consumer-focused opportunities. The 60 million MSMEs drive half of Indonesia’s economy but the vast majority do not use any technology-enabled services or applications. This is a huge opportunity for efficiency and value and it is drawing strong investor interest.

I recently read in an interview that Indonesia is facing an early-stage investment fatigue. What is your view?

I don’t think so. We believe there is still plenty of opportunities for early-stage investment and the market is ripe for further disruption by technology-enabled companies with better talent, consumer/SME adoption and capital available for entrepreneurs than ever before.

13

An influential new Indonesian VC could open doors for startups

Original post by Tech in Asia

Since it was founded in 2018, Agaeti Ventures has become a rising force among Indonesian VCs, currently being one of the most active investors in the country. Its general partner, Pandu Sjahrir, is the key man.

Beside investing in early-stage startups with Agaeti, Sjahrir has influence within tech unicorns: He’s a board member in Gojek and the Indonesia chairman of Sea.

He’s also armed with government connections, being the nephew of the Indonesian coordinating minister for maritime affairs and investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, who has a strong influence in foreign investment in the country. The minister is also involved in Indonesia’s plans to set up a sovereign wealth fund and a new capital city.

Sjahrir is a prominent figure in the mining industry as well – a sector that contributes a significant chunk to the country’s gross domestic product. In addition to being the director of Toba Bara Sejahtra, a local publicly listed coal mining corporation, since 2010, he has also led the Indonesian Coal Mining Association for five years.

This influence and network has allowed Agaeti to run fast after its founding, setting up a US$10 million debut fund and deploying it to 27 startups in less than two years.

As with any VC, it will be years before Sjahrir can show any returns, so the verdict is still out.

Nonetheless, these are three of the promising startups in Agaeti’s belt:

Warung Pintar: The startup brings roadside stalls online by implementing digital payments, inventory software, and data analytics. To date, the company already serves thousands of stalls.

Bizzy: A company that aims to build a more efficient supply chain network for retailers.

Kargo: Integrating shippers and logistics providers in a single marketplace, the startup counts Sequoia Capital and Uber founder Travis Kalanick as its investors.

Michael Soerijadji, another partner at Agaeti, was also the director in one of Toba Bara Sejahtra’s affiliates. He and Sjahrir not only have experience in mining and energy, he says, but also in the retail and manufacturing sector.

Joining forces

Agaeti recently announced a “merger” with fellow Indonesia-based VC firm Convergence Ventures, which will further increase Sjahrir’s influence.

Named AC Ventures, the combined entity has become the second-most active VC in Indonesia, just behind East Ventures. Indeed, Sjahrir also has a tight connection with the latter, considering 65% of Agaeti’s disclosed portfolio companies have been co-invested with East Ventures.

Similar to its predecessors, AC Ventures aims to invest in early-stage Indonesian tech startups. It plans to put in a few million US dollars per deal for companies that operate in ecommerce (including social commerce), fintech, digital content services like edtech and healthtech, and those that enable micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises.

Today, AC Ventures is still fundraising for its debut fund, though it has refused to give details on the target and timeline of the process.

But why isn’t Convergence continuing to run as an independent firm? Adrian Li, its managing partner, says the new entity can pool resources to better help startups. He will hold the same title at AC Ventures.

In December 2018, DealStreetAsia reported that Convergence was in the process of raising its second fund. However, Li says the report isn’t accurate and that the firm will not raise a new fund after the merger.

According to Li, the internal rate of return of Convergence’s first fund, which is now in its fifth year, is above 30%.

After the merger, the limited partners of both Agaeti and Convergence will remain the note holders in the companies that they have invested in, Soerijadji explains. However, he says there is a possibility for AC Ventures to invest in its past portfolios.

“We have inside information [from the companies that we invested in],” Soerijadji says. “It gives us an advantage. When it makes sense, we will invest more in them.”

However, because AC Ventures focuses on early-stage startups, Li says that most of Convergence’s portfolio companies may already be out of the new entity’s scope.

For Agaeti, Indonesia’s tech ecosystem is a compelling opportunity due to the country’s growing population and favorable economy, Soerijadji says.

Despite this, technology adoption in the country is still behind other developed countries.

“We believe every country [including Indonesia] will adapt to technology more and more. That’s the idea,” says Soerijadji.

When it comes to finding a promising startup, Sjahrir says he wants to focus on whether the founders have the right set of characteristics and whether the business makes sense. Times of crisis, like the Covid-19 pandemic, he says, is a good opportunity to exercise whether a founder is capable or not.

“I want to see three characters from the founders: grit, humility, and how they set the team,” says Sjahrir.

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