KLAR teeth aligner

Indonesia’s dental startup KLAR focuses on home market before expanding overseas

KLAR teeth aligner

Original post by TechNode Global

Indonesian aesthetic dentistry technology startup KLAR, which recently announced the close of its Seed funding round led by AC Ventures, plans to expand its business in its home market first before expanding into other neighboring countries.

“We would like to focus on innovation. If you look at Gojek, Grab, and other startups, you cannot be a winner without conquering a market as big as Indonesia. This is where we are strong. We want to create a strong foothold in Indonesia before exporting the recipe to neighboring countries,” its Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Ellen Pranata, told TechNode Global in an interview.

“The market of clear aligners in Indonesia is very much still untapped. We also see the trend of moving towards clear aligner technology as compared to traditional metal braces,” she said.

Combining technology with orthodontic expertise, KLAR creates a modern ultra-clear aligner that is comfortable to wear and can improve dental aesthetics and alignment without the use of braces.

The clear aligners market in Indonesia is valued at $3 billion, according to Ellen.

She said KLAR wants to win the local market first and educate Indonesians about the importance of aligning teeth.

“We still have a lot of homework in educating general Indonesians about the importance of aligning teeth, not only for beauty but also for health,” she said. “I think that other brands are not focusing on this.”

Launched in September 2020, KLAR has grown to become one of Indonesia’s dental technology brands, partnering with more than 600 dentist partners, including dentists and orthodontists, throughout the archipelago in less than a year.

KLAR is present in more than 100 dental clinics across 32 cities. Jakarta, Bali, and Surabaya are the company’s key cities.

The firm announced last month the close of its Seed funding round led by AC Ventures, with participation from the Kenangan Fund.

It plans to use the funding for R&D development to achieve economies of scale and treatment optimization, expand the company’s talent base, enhance branding, and venture into complementary product offerings.

The funding round also came as clear aligners are gaining popularity in Indonesia as well as Southeast Asia. The funding round also came after Singapore-based cosmetic dentistry startup Zenyum raised a $40 million Series B round in June. This includes $25 million from private equity firm L Catterton. Other participants include Sequoia Capital India, RTP Global, Partech, TNB Aura, Seeds Capital, and FEBE Ventures.

Zenyum started offering clear aligners in Indonesia in 2019. Another notable brand in the Indonesian market is Invisalign, manufactured by US-based Align Technology, a multinational medical device company listed on NASDAQ.

Affordable clear aligners are in demand, as brands from overseas entering Indonesia are seen as unaffordable. Zenyum’s price starts at 12.9 million rupiah ($889.95), Invisalign’s price starts at 13.84 million rupiah ($954.81), information from their websites and a clinic website dok.ku showed.

According to a post on harga.web.id, getting Invisalign aligners would costs between 30.1 million rupiah ($2,076.39) and 83.14 million rupiah ($5,735.18).

KLAR is offering its aligners from 9.9 million rupiah ($682.99), according to its Facebook post dated June 23. Alpha JWC Ventures-backed Indonesia’s dental startup Rata sets its aligner price from 9.9 million rupiah ($682.99).

Rata raised a pre-Series A funding round last year, backed by existing investor Alpha JWC Ventures and regional investors, Prestige reported last month.

Alpha JWC Ventures first invested in Rata’s seed round in August 2019. Launched in 2019, Rata claims to be the first company in Indonesia, which has the technology to produce aligners in-house.

Photo Credits: KLAR

Partnerships with orthodontists, competitive pricing to win customers

Partnering with orthodontists, providing aligners at more affordable prices are among the strategies KLAR adopted to differentiate itself from other aligner brands.

The strategies were formed based on the findings from a survey conducted by KLAR.

According to the survey, general dental treatment awareness is low in Indonesia as only less than 10% of the population with dental issues visit a dentist.

There is a very strong dentist and patient relationship in Indonesia, of which 52 percent of the respondents lean on their preferred dentists for dental treatment choice.

And lastly, less than 10 percent of the respondents are aware of clear aligner treatment. Of those who are aware, cannot afford Zenyum or Invisalign, or think the two brands are “too expensive.”

In conclusion, Ellen said it is important to drive the prices of aligners to an affordable rate for most Indonesians, besides creating awareness about the treatment.

“Our production facility is one of the core competencies. Our founders, myself, comes from a long-term dentistry background. I am one of the owners of the largest Indonesian dental tools importing company, Cobra Dental. Our Chief Operating Officer (David Sugihartana)  is a dentist who has strong capability in production,” she said.

Together, they have come up with a production facility that is scalable, and can produce clear aligners at a high standard, comparable to Invisalign (another aligner brand), but at a fraction of a cost.

“We own the orthodontist network internally. We create all the treatment planning in-house, produce and import everything end-to-end. That is why in terms of costs, our production is very cost-competitive,” she explained.

With the funds from investors, KLAR will be able to scale its business.

“Our capacity is around 200 aligners per month, but that can grow quickly and exponentially depending on the machinery that we purchase as we already have the key ingredients,” she said.

“We believe that we have at least 40 percent cost competitiveness compared to competitors,” she added.

A quarter of the seed funding will go into research and development (R&D), focusing on how to make the treatment more efficient, faster, more comfortable for the patient, Ellen said.

“What differentiates KLAR from other brands, is actually our ability to move teeth according to the standard that we promise. The gold standard is 0.25 millimeters per week, and this is very difficult to get if you do not have the secret recipe,” she said.

She said the firm has already invested a lot in orthodontic skills, upskilling dentists, working with manufacturers to find an improved version of the materials used, and working on different patients. KLAR is also able to import key materials at a preferred rate.

“And most importantly, how to make it not only aesthetically pleasing but more user-friendly and economical,” she said.

KLAR also plans to expand on other dental products and provide a full range of technology-enabled products. It is currently doing R&D on a few products but Ellen declined to disclose the details.

Challenges and competition: Affordability is key

While the aesthetics dentistry industry in Indonesia is only starting to gain popularity with plenty of untapped opportunities, Ellen also shared the challenges KLAR meets in the increasingly competitive market.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, how to bring down the prices of aligners, and the lack of awareness on oral health care are among the challenges faced by KLAR as it expands its business.

“The pandemic is here and the pandemic is real. People are not going to the dentist and that obviously puts a barrier for us to grow. However, we have already been preemptive by enabling our patients to do consultation through our apps,” she said.

As the gross domestic product per capita in Asia continues to grow, there are more people who want to invest more in self-care and aesthetics.

“But there’s a gap between what you want and what you can afford. So KLAR is committed to bringing this price down through marketing and R&D,” she said.

KLAR also needs to provide customers with the confidence to visit a dentist, raise awareness on dental health and bring down the stigma of scariness about dentistry, according to Ellen, as a survey shows Indonesians do not enjoy visiting dentists.

Asked about more competition seen in the industry, Ellen also noticed its competitors are aggressive in marketing and advertising on social media to attract customers.

“Our survey has shown that Indonesians still trust their dentist network very much when deciding on which treatment to use. By owning the distribution network and partnering with the best dentists in Indonesia, dentists will then recommend our clear aligners to their patients,” she said.

“Our treatment is done by orthodontists. They are specialists in aligning teeth. Our product also uses attachments, and this is something that others do not focus on. Attachments are like composites. They are the building blocks that are put on your tooth as a pressure point,” she said.

Except for Invisalign, Ellen said KLAR is the only brand in the market that is able to provide this technology to dentists.

Some competitors who also work with dentists are also aggressive in recruiting more. But this is not the case for KLAR.

“We do not plan to recruit more. We want to focus on the dentists who already put their trust in us to bring in more patients. it’s quality over quantity, we want to make sure that our providers know how to use the aligner technology,” she added.

KLAR has also launched a patient app based on research on Indonesian customers. It allows patients to consult dentists and monitor their treatment without a face-to-face meeting.

On its next fundraising, Ellen said KLAR is looking to raise pre-Series A funding round next year. She, however, declined to disclose the amount.

“I think it’s important to not over-fundraise but to actually be responsible for the money that we have managed to raise and provide returns,” she added.

Photo Credits: KLAR

Investor AC Ventures: Proven globally, aligners work

Commenting on why AC Ventures chose to invest in KLAR, its Co-Founder and Managing Partner Michael Soerijadji pointed out that KLAR is trying to solve a problem with a better, cheaper, and more convenient solution.

“With a solid founding team and strong industry network, they have the ingredients required to come out as a winner in a large and growing market of dental aesthetics in Indonesia,” he told TechNode Global in an email.

“As proven globally, aligners work. They are more effective, cheaper, and also more convenient because you have fewer trips to the dentist. The key is localizing, as well as educating product adoption through industry practitioners. It’s only a matter of time before aligners replace conventional braces entirely,” he added.

Moreover, he said the founding team of KLAR is well-rounded with each of them having deep expertise in complementary areas from business management to orthodontics.

“They are very passionate about dental aesthetics and know the right people to make this work,” he added.

With a growing GDP per capita and increasing interest in self-care and aesthetics, the demand for aligners will continue to grow.

“Like any new product designed to replace a conventional solution, it requires education and adoption. So, the biggest challenge for KLAR is educating the market. KLAR is working with dental partners to tell consumers why aligners are more effective than braces,” Soerijadji said.

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Digitalisasi UMKM Jadi Mesin Pertumbuhan Ekonomi Pasca-Covid-19

Photo Credits: The Economist Indonesia Summit 2018

Original post by Media Indonesia

KEHADIRAN consumer-focused platforms atau platform yang berfokus pada konsumen di Indonesia, seperti Gojek, Tokopedia, dan Traveloka telah membuka peluang besar bagi usaha mikro, kecil, dan Menengah (UMKM) di Indonesia untuk bertumbuh.

Namun terdapat sejumlah tantangan yang dihadapi sektor UMKM di Tanah Air.

Perusahaan dana modal ventura atau venture capital (VC) terkemuka yang berfokus pada investasi start-up di tahap awal, AC Ventures meyakini, teknologi dapat menjadi solusi dalam membantu menciptakan nilai tambah dan dampak yang sangat besar untuk sektor UMKM.

Selain itu, hal itu sekaligus menjadi peluang bagi pemain bisnis teknologi maupun investor jika mereka mampu menjembatani tantangan ini.

“Pemanfaatan platform berbasis teknologi dapat menekan biaya operasional menjadi lebih rendah, efisiensi yang lebih besar, hingga volume penjualan yang lebih tinggi,” ujar Co-Founder & Managing Partner AC Ventures, Adrian Li, di Jakarta, Rabu (28/7/2021).

Adrian melihat bahwa peluang yang ada tidak hanya terbatas pada kemampuan pemain bisnis untuk memberikan solusi bagi UMKM, melainkan dapat pula membantu pelaku bisnis untuk memasuki pasar konsumen Indonesia melalui UMKM ini.

Karena, meskipun pertumbuhan daring sangat besar, namun sebagian besar penjualan masih dilakukan secara luring atau off line, terutama di saluran tradisional.

“Sayangnya, rantai pasokan yang menghubungkan jutaan pengecer ini ke prinsipal dan distributor sangat terfragmentasi sehingga menimbulkan banyak masalah bagi pengecer,” jelasnya.

Menurut Adrian, terdapat dua hambatan utama bagi UMKM untuk mendapatkan pembiayaan.

Pertama, UMKM umumnya tidak dianggap layak kredit oleh bank karena mereka biasanya tidak memiliki aset yang dapat digunakan untuk agunan.

Kedua, cabang bank sangat terbatas di kota-kota tier-2 dan tier-3 yang mempersulit UMKM bahkan untuk mengajukan pembiayaan.

“Indonesia telah melihat banyak pemain fintech mencoba mengatasi masalah ini. Namun, bahkan dengan pemberi pinjaman teknologi finansial, ada sedikit informasi untuk memahami kesehatan keuangan calon peminjam,” jelasnya.

“Alhasil, data OJK (Otoritas Jasa Keuangan) pada 2020 menunjukkan, perusahaan fintech lending hanya mengucurkan total US$5,0 miliar pada 2020. Jumlah ini masih jauh dari mengatasi gap pembiayaan,” papar Adrian.

Menurut data Kementerian Koperasi dan UKM, UMKM adalah mesin pertumbuhan bagi perekonomian Indonesia. Terdapat lebih dari 60 juta UMKM terdaftar, dan menyumbang sekitar 61% dari PDB negara.

Sementara itu, Badan Pusat Statistik (BPS) tahun 2018 merilis, kategori besar ini telah mempekerjakan lebih dari 116 juta orang atau setara dengan 97% angkatan kerja Indonesia.

Kontribusi dan signifikansi UMKM terhadap perekonomian Indonesia jauh lebih besar dibandingkan dengan perekonomian besar lain, seperti India yang hanya menyumbang 30% dari PDB.

“Ini sekaligus merupakan salah satu alasan mengapa usaha teknologi yang berfokus pada UMKM di Indonesia dapat muncul sebagai bisnis yang bahkan lebih berharga daripada di pasar negara berkembang lain yang lebih matang,” tambahnya.

AC Ventures sendiri telah melakukan analisis terhadap peluang-peluang tersebut, dan sejauh ini telah berinvestasi kepada empat start-up yang dinilai mampu menjembatani masing-masing masalah yang dihadapi UMKM seperti startup marketplace Ula, startup fintech BukuWarung, startup food technology ESB, serta startup yang menyediakan perangkat digital lengkap untuk UMKM seperti Majoo.

Business People Office Working Corporate Team Concept

AC Ventures Career: We are looking to hire an Investment Associate

Photo Credits: 123rf

We are looking to hire an Investment Associate to join our team. This is a mid-entry position to the firm and will be primarily engaged in the Investment Team on sourcing, evaluating, and reviewing investment opportunities.

It is a great place to accelerate knowledge about technology and the venture industry. The position will report to senior members of the investment team and support them while working with the junior team members on investment opportunities, including interface with all team members regularly. 

Why join us?

AC Ventures is an early-stage technology venture fund that focuses on investing in Indonesia’s digital disruptors. Our mission is to partner and support our entrepreneurs with more than capital, combining our operating experience, industry knowledge, and deep local network to bring value. Our vision is to be a generational partner to entrepreneurs driving positive change to Indonesia and beyond through technology-enabled ventures.

We believe that entrepreneurs drive the process of value creation in new businesses. Our role is to support them in every way possible in their journey. We look for founders who have deep experience and understanding of the company they are creating and the passion and tenacity to take it to success.

With our operating experience, we work in partnership with our founders and their teams to solve the complex issues – not just the strategy questions in the board room.

We are “entrepreneurs, behind the entrepreneur,” and our team members display all the critical attributes of our founders; purpose, grit, charisma, integrity, and humility. 

Investment Associate Responsibilities:

1. Research & Investment Sourcing
  • Deal screening: call and/or meet with prospects, evaluate opportunities
  • To discuss and review business cases and to work with existing portfolio companies.
  • Network with peers in other Venture Capital Firms
  • Maintaining a database to track opportunity information
  • Monitoring portfolio companies through review of reports and interaction with management teams
2. Investment Analysis
  • Lead and participate in all aspects of due diligence, including customer and management references, market sizing and mapping, customer surveys, and industry research
  • Gather information from the target company and industry experts
  • Research and talk to existing references and customers of the target company.
  • Research potential competitors to the target company
  • Research and talk with technical/business consultants to evaluate the target company’s technology, including IPs
  • Conduct background checks on the current management of the target company 
  • Perform comprehensive analysis on investment opportunities, including but not limited to projecting forecast, valuation, and exit analysis via modeling
  • Help to prepare internal investment memos.

Investment Associate Requirements:

  • Bachelor Degree from top tier university, Master Degree in a relevant field will be considered an advantage
  • 3-5 years of experience in a related sector, including but not limited to finance, tech, and/or management consulting
  • Fluent in English and Bahasa
  • Passionate in the digital industry, investment, entrepreneurial
  • Very strong work ethic, strong communicator, and fast learner
  • Analytical and well versed in constructing logical arguments to defend thesis and point of view
  • Self-motivated individual who enjoys taking on greater levels of responsibility and is excited to participate in building the start-up ecosystem in Indonesia

So, come and join us now!

Please email your resume/ Linkedin & cover letter to: careers@acv.vc

Our team will respond to candidates invited for first-round interviews typically within 5 working days. Successful candidates will be asked to prepare for case study interviews which will involve presenting an investment case and one-on-one interviews with the firm’s Partners. 

To know more about us, visit our LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, or Website.


Abhay Saboo’s quick math for CoLearn’s edtech gains

Original post by THE KEN

The startup world in Indonesia shows a new trend that is quite different from the last few years. EdTech is one type of category that is increasingly in demand by investors and customers. As a new player, CoLearn has succeeded in overtaking other competitors who first entered this market.

CoLearn, one of AC Ventures‘ portfolio companies, launched its math tutoring app in August 2020, bang in the middle of the pandemic. CoLearn has its own Unique Selling Point (USP) compared to the other EdTech players who came earlier, such as Brainly, Ruangguru, and Zenius. Its growth formula is a mix of doubt-solving and live tutoring classes.

In his interview with THE KEN, CoLearn’s Co-Founder and CEO Abhay Saboo shares his views on the current landscape of the Edtech world. Including the outlook for this industry in the future and what CoLearn will do. He also talked about his reasons for getting into the world of education.

Saboo, born to Indian parents, moved to Indonesia with his family at the young age of three. He grew up in Semarang and Salatiga, two neighboring small cities in Central Java, where his father worked in the textile industry. A Harvard graduate, he’s built a company before CoLearn—pharmacy chain Viva Health, which has scaled to almost 150 outlets since its inception in 2012. Saboo handed over the reins to a senior management team in 2018.

He then realized his strong interest in education. Since being in junior high school, Saboo has tutored several subjects. The idea to establish CoLearn was formed.

“With healthcare, sometimes you’re dealing with folks when it’s too late in their life. With education, their whole future is there in front of them, and you can change the course of their life,” said Saboo to THE KEN.

In the very beginning, CoLearn’s business model was offline-online, where they saw an opportunity. There are about 40,000 tutoring centers across Indonesia.

“There is a massive opportunity to increase the quality of tutoring centers. If you organize them well, then you can increase their standard. You can have some element of technology, some element of offline, right? And you can make their centers look better, like OYO for tutoring centers, or RedDoorz and Zenrooms, if you will,” said Saboo.

While many people predict this change in teaching and learning behavior will be a permanent change, Saboo sees that after-school tutoring would be a permanent change. This business model then changed to the online realm.

“Because once families are used to learning from home, even if schools reopen, they would say it makes no sense for the kids to go to school for all these long hours, come home, and go back to school again for tutoring,” added Saboo.

For CoLearn, they don’t think that recorded content is the future. CoLearn thinks that live classes and AI-powered help are the future.

Fundamentally, Indonesia has a motivation and confidence problem. Saboo believes that we have to replicate offline behavior in an online setting if we want to make kids study. CoLearn has been through that offline experience, so they had some cues on how to replicate that in an online setting.

One of the most important elements for these kids who are not motivated is to make learning fun for them, making it a two-way conversation.

The other thing is cohorts. “Cohorts is the future, and it’s not in content. It’s a community. It drives discipline, it drives consistency,” explained Saboo to THE KEN.

The services offered by CoLearn are more segmented than other competitors, such as Ruangguru or Zenius. When the competitor offers various consumer needs in education (positioning itself as a super-app), CoLearn is staying focused on STEM.

“One might argue how useful math is in day-to-day life, but it’s about the problem-solving skills that you learn, which you don’t even realize you pick up. It has to go through that problem-solving process, critical thinking, you can apply that to any situation in life,” explained Saboo. From its positioning and differentiation, Saboo’s optimistic about bringing CoLearn into the competition in the EdTech space.

“The way I think about competition is, when you’re in a basketball game, you’ve got to look at the basket, right? From the corner of your eye, you can look if someone’s about to tackle you or block you or steal the ball, but you’ve got to be focused on the basket. Otherwise, you can’t score. For us, it’s all about what is the problem that Indonesian parents have? What students have? And how are we going to solve that?” said Saboo.

To read more, visit The Ken here.

Jakarta downtown skyline with high-rise buildings at sunset

The evolution of VC in Indonesia: An eyewitness’ perspective

Jakarta downtown skyline with high-rise buildings at sunset

Original Post by The e27


“So much has changed in the local VC ecosystem since I first started working on a fund in 2014. Here is my take on where it is going,”
Adrian Li, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of AC Ventures


The Indonesian Venture Capital landscape has evolved dramatically in the past ten years, creating enormous opportunities. In a podcast with IndoTekno’s Alan Hellawell, I shared 15 years of my experience in technology entrepreneurship and venture investment from China and Indonesia’s markets.

So much has changed in the Indonesian VC ecosystem since I first started working on a fund in 2014. From an investor’s perspective, among the most apparent challenges previously was finding entrepreneurial talent and significant downstream funding risk.

But back then we were pioneering and starting venture capital as an asset class in Indonesia along with several other players in the market.

However, entrepreneurs faced bigger challenges than just securing funding. The entire market for the online space, payment, and logistics infrastructure was still very nascent. Smartphone capabilities were also far from where they are now, and of course, without the penetration of Gojek, Grab, and Shopee, consumer confidence was much lower.

Just seven years on, things have entirely changed. The majority of consumers do not think twice about buying online given the prevalence of online shopping apps.

In addition, the hardware used in smartphones is far better, including all the supporting infrastructure for e-commerce, payments, and logistics.

When it comes to the talent ecosystem, we’ve also seen extensive recycling of talent, not just promising returnees; but also early team members who have graduated from Tokopedia, Gojek, Grab, Shopee and decided to start their own businesses. And this has fuelled the growth of new companies in the ecosystem.

Now, while Indonesia still is some ways away from receiving the capital attention that a market like India has received; nonetheless, we’ve seen multiple funds raised, successive funds, as well as top-tier global investors plugging this gap in both Series B and Series C and onwards.

So, the environment and ecosystem investing in venture businesses are far more mature than several years ago.

Focus on growth over monetisation

When looking at Indonesia, VC cites many superlatives about how significant Indonesia’s potential is as the fourth most populous country in the world.

However, the question that then arises is whether this large market can be monetised?

For me, it’s important to understand that while tech companies often take time to monetize, they are often disrupting traditional incumbents through their better and more efficient models. So, the potential revenue cake or monetisation potential can sometimes be seen in their conventional counterparts.

If you want to understand in the future how big that pie is and how big these technology companies can become, you can look at some of the traditional incumbents they are seeking to disrupt.

For example in the banking industry, BCA is one of the most valuable businesses in Indonesia and Southeast Asia. Meanwhile, if we look at the consumer category (FMCG), there are companies such as Indofood or Gudang Garam. These companies are among the largest publicly listed companies worth multibillion dollars.

And so we can see from the traditional counterparts, whether we’re tackling fintech or e-commerce, that it is possible to build companies of this size.

However, like China, and many other markets, at the early stages of many technology-enabled businesses, their focus is on adoption and growth instead of monetisation.

Most companies, certainly prior to Series C businesses, are much more focused on their growth trajectory than monetisation.

The most promising investment opportunities

One sector that we have a vast amount of confidence in is MSMEs or micro, small and medium enterprises. However, it’s pretty hard to drive meaningful subscription revenue from these small-medium enterprises on a SaaS (software-as-a-service) basis from what we’ve seen so far.

And because of their small size, they also have a low willingness to pay for software or tools that they may be using. So this is one area that’s yet to see some solid monetisation.

If we talk about how big this market is based on reports, there are over 63M MSMEs in Indonesia that employ over 97 percent of working adults.

Clearly, there is a massive market here as well as multiple ways of monetising in the future, in particular through the quality collection of data to provide financial services to the unbanked and underbanked.

Comparison between Indonesia and China

There are several similarities when talking about the Indonesian and Chinese markets. For example, China is a large, homogeneous market enabling massive scaling of technology-enabled businesses. This is the reason why we focus on Indonesia, not ASEAN or SEA.

We believe that founders in this region should start through building in the single largest market in SEA and not think regionally too early. Almost all of Indonesia’s billion-dollar tech companies focus exclusively on the Indonesian market.

The second thing, as we’ve seen in China, there’s the massive importance of localisation. Even though we’re identifying disruptive; proven disruptive business models that we see in markets, such as India or China; it’s not a simple copy-paste.

On the other hand, there are some clear differences. For example, in China, certain industries are highly regulated such as search and social media. Hence in China can see the emergence of companies such as Baidu and Tencent.

But in Indonesia, this is not possible because of the open market. So you’ve seen the dominance of Facebook, TikTok, and global players take dominant market share in these areas.

The second thing is the role of government. The Indonesian government has worked in a very inclusive and proactive manner to support the growth of the digital economy.

We can see this very clearly in terms of how the Indonesian government has approached regulation in fintech compared to how it happened in China.

Subscribe to AC Insights to get the latest news, insights, and updates about us and our portfolio companies or visit us on LinkedInInstagram, or Twitter.

Pandu Sjahrir_low res (2)

Pandu Sjahrir’s Leap from Indonesia’s Coal Baron to Tech Kingmaker

Original post by THE KEN

Pandu Sjahrir, Founding Partner of AC Ventures, is in the spotlight. His breakthrough was taking a coal mining company public in 2012. Sjahrir also wields influence in all three of Southeast Asia’s largest tech companies.

He’s the chairman of Singapore-headquartered tech giant Sea Ltd’s Indonesian entity. Sea is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, with a market cap of US$130 billion. He’s on the board of ride-hailing major Gojek, which is due to merge with another Indonesian unicorn, Tokopedia, to form a US$18 billion entity.

He’s also an independent commissioner at EMTEK, an Indonesian conglomerate with digital businesses like e-commerce platform Bukalapak and e-wallet Dana. Gojek’s rival Grab recently took a stake in EMTEK, signaling the two firms are aligning. Now, he’s helping tech companies list on the Indonesian Stock Exchange.

“We never had technology companies listed before, so we are learning as it goes. We still have some homework to resolve,” said Pandu Sjahrir to THE KEN.

One is about allowing multiple voting share structures. The second is that the tech companies want to list on the Main Board of the IDX. The last point is about rights issuing. The companies want to do rights issues of more than 10% without shareholders’ approval. This point is also still under consideration because it will affect all companies in the stock exchange.

“All this is still under careful consideration with the OJK. We are preparing a regulation, but I can’t say more in terms of timing. But everybody is aligned, from regulators to the stock exchange and the potential issuers, investment bankers, and accountants involved. We have to protect minority investors. We’ve seen tremendous growth in the last year; we now have five million accounts registered at the IDX, from less than 1.5 million last year. And a lot of those new investors are young people,” Pandu Sjahrir told THE KEN in May 2021.

In his interview with THE KEN, Pandu Sjahrir also shared how Shopee is being quite aggressive by launching ShopeeFood, going up directly against Grab and Gojek’s food-delivery verticals. For Pandu Sjahrir, it’s healthy for the customer and competition.

“Who can do it better will always win. I’m sorry to say it so coldly, but that’s reality[…]That’s all this game is about—how to be better. Better for your shareholders and better for your customers. At the end of the day, you have to make sure people are always on their toes. Again, the same happens in my business. I’m in the investment business. I always have to be on my toes,” explained Pandu Sjahrir.

Pandu Sjahrir, who earned an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business and a BA in Economics from the University of Chicago, has had a strong career in coal. But today, he’s an increasingly visible stakeholder in Indonesia’s new digital economy, which probably raises many questions. But for Pandu Sjahrir, he’s there to change that entire business.

“How can we change to no longer rely on coal by X number of years? It’s something that I’ve been pushing. I say you’ve got to do it because the world has changed. And we have got to change. Even as chairman of the coal mining association, I said, all of us, we have got to change,” said Pandu Sjahrir.

“It was two decades of, “Who the hell is Pandu?”. Now, people say, “Oh, he’s everywhere.” But this was many years in the making. So, you know, nothing happens overnight,” added him.

To read more, visit THE KEN here.

KLAR Founders

KLAR bags seed funding to develop high-tech ‘ultra-clear’ teeth aligners in Indonesia

Original post by e27

KLAR, an aesthetic dentistry technology startup in Indonesia, has closed a seed round of investment led by early-stage local investor AC Ventures.

Kenangan Fund, an early-stage VC firm formed by Kopi Kenangan founders, also participated.

The startup plans to use the funding for R&D development, expand its team, and to venture into complementary product offerings to offer a holistic aesthetic and functional dental treatment for patients.

The 20-strong team aims to grow its talent pool to at least 80 people this year.

“This funding is the first step to grow KLAR further and achieve all of our goals when we decided to establish this startup. We see more and more patients who want to have healthy teeth and an attractive smile to increase their confidence. However, they prefer a comfortable process without compromising on the aesthetics factor,” said Ellen Pranata, CEO and Co-Founder of KLAR.

Launched in September 2020, KLAR combines cutting-edge technology with orthodontic expertise to create a modern ultra-clear aligner. The company claims these aligners are comfortable to wear and can improve teeth aesthetics and alignment without the use of braces.

Currently, KLAR has partnered with 600+ dentists and orthodontists throughout the archipelago. The firm is now present in more than 100 dental clinics across 32 cities. Jakarta, Bali, and Surabaya are its key cities.

The startup follows a B2B2C business model: it provides high-tech aligner technology to partnering dentists, which they can use to complement their dental services to patients. Both dentists and patients can also interact and monitor treatment progress remotely with KLAR’s mobile app, KLAR Smile. This reduces the number of visits and time spent on periodic check-ups.

KLAR manages everything in-house, including owning the manufacturing facility for KLAR aligner production. With this approach, KLAR says it can maintain control over quality and push down production costs.

The aligners were developed by experienced orthodontists, and each set is tailor-made to suit each patient’s needs.

“KLAR is trying to solve the existing problems with better, more affordable, and more convenient solutions. Backed by a solid founding team and strong industry network, we believe KLAR has the ingredients required to come out as a winner in a large and growing market of dental aesthetics in Indonesia. Moreover, the good market for aligners is north of US$3 billion. With growing GDP per capita and increasing interest in self-care and aesthetics, we are confident that the demand for aligners will continue to grow,” said Michael Soerijadji, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of AC Ventures.

KLAR teeth aligner

KLAR’s founders are heavyweights in the dental space. Ellen Pranata (COO) is a former director of Cobra Dental, one of Indonesia’s largest importers and retailers of dental equipment and materials. Adelia Susanto (chief orthodontist) is a practicing orthodontist with years of experience in clear aligners treatment technology. David Sugihartana (COO) is highly skilled in prosthetics, aesthetics, and full mouth rehabilitations.

Dental aesthetics is a fast-growing industry in Southeast Asia. Recently, Singapore-based direct-to-consumer dental products startup Zenyum secured a US$40 million Series B funding round led by L Catterton.

Structo is another startup, which offers dental 3D printing solutions startup. In 2019, the startup closed a round of funding from EDBI, GGV Capital, Wavemaker Partners, and Pavilion Capital.


Adrian Li – Entrepreneur, Venture Capitalist


Original post by Dads in Tech

“Hard work, resilience and grit, growth mindsets, confidence and a love of learning”

Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.

I’m an entrepreneur and venture capital investor with a passion for empowering people with opportunities and pursuing the long-term goal.

I studied Economics at Cambridge University and started my career in Investment Banking with JPMorgan’s Financial Institutions Group Corporate Finance team. However, my passion was in technology and entrepreneurship, so I pursued an MBA at Stanford GSB after 3 years in banking. After graduating from GSB in 2006, I started my first technology business which was an online education platform providing scalable one-on-one English training to students in China, ultimately selling the firm in 2010 to a US education company.

I moved to Indonesia in 2012 and was married to Vanessa (who is from Surabaya and also an entrepreneur) that same year. We had our first child in 2013 and our second in 2015. I started a venture fund called Convergence Ventures in 2014 with a mission to empower a future generation of entrepreneurs with the experience, network and, capital of our collective platform. In 2019 I merged Convergence Ventures with my Stanford classmate Pandu Sjahrir’s firm Agaeti Ventures to form AC Ventures.

Presently I am Founder and Managing Partner for AC Ventures, an early stage Indonesia-focused venture fund managing over US$250M in AUM across several funds. Our broader portfolio includes over 100 technology-enabled businesses in Indonesia, and South East Asia invested in since 2015.

I enjoy endurance sports outside of my professional life and have completed a full Ironman triathlon and several half-distance Ironman races and currently ranked in the top 10% of my age group. Together with Vanessa we also work on strategies to be the best parents and coaches for our two sons, Aaron and Austin.

How old are your kid(s)?

Aaron is 8, and Austin is 6 and a half.

Who is the primary caregiver in the household, and what are you and your partner’s do parenting philosophy?

Vanessa is an amazing entrepreneur (Founder and CEO of Gowork, Indonesia’s largest co-working space with over 25 locations and 50,000+ sqm of space) and a fantastic mother to our children. She has encouraged and taught me a tremendous amount on parenting and inspired me to become more involved as a father.

Initially, I approached parenting in a similar way to how my brothers and I were brought up. Our parents were supportive but a light touch on bringing us up. Their biggest influence likely came from role modeling. They were both incredibly hard-working, demonstrated strong family values, and were generous with us. However, learning from Vanessa and more recently in reading into different upbringing styles, I have incorporated more proactive strategies to nurture our kids.

Overall our philosophy involves encouraging and reinforcing key attributes we would like our children to develop, such as hard work, resilience and grit, growth mindsets, confidence, and a love of learning. We do this through how we speak to them, activities that we do together, and role modeling in our own behaviors. The goal is to develop children who can develop the agency, mindset, and skills sets needed to excel in whichever walk of life they decide to embrace.

What’s your favorite moment in the day with your kid(s)?

Recently we have started journaling with the kids. 30 minutes before bedtime, each parent sits with one child and works with them on their “Big Life Journal” – a book we bought that helps encourage kids to reflect and develop growth mindsets.

How do you keep yourself sane?

For both of us, regular exercise and meditation help recharge our minds and get some space. Presently we are both training to do a “virtual” half Ironman in the summer. This is a half distance triathlon that involves a 2KM swim, 90KM bike, and 21KM run.

Best tech tip on parenting. This can be apps/hardware/gear you use, and how you use them.

We generally aim to minimize screen time, but certain games such as Minecraft the kids enjoy can also cultivate creative skill sets. We use such games as rewards for keeping up with their daily chores and completing their homework or exercise. This way, they can have their “game minutes” increased or deducted based on their work and behavior. However, we try not to have the kids exceed 3 hours of screen time in total per week.

Most helpful advice you’ve received as a parent.

I’ve often heard people remark at how siblings can turn out so differently despite being raised the “same way” by the “same parents”. Through some recent reading, I’ve realized that the point is that kids, like all people, are individuals with their own unique characteristics. Hence, depending on a kid’s personality, a parent should adapt and change parenting techniques and communication to suit each child.

What lessons do you not want your kid(s) to learn?

We live a comfortable lifestyle compared to many, but we do not want our kids to think that life is easy or have chores done for them. Increasingly we seek ways to challenge our children every day with both menial and intellectual tasks.

What was the best lesson you learned from your child?

One of the most powerful lessons I’ve learned from my child has been the value of quality time vs. the quantity of time. In the past when I’ve spent time with the kids I have also been distracted with my phone messages, emails, or thinking about something else. This all amounted to low-quality time with my children in which conversations were shallow and experiences together were monotone. Focusing purposefully on quality time together, listening, and engaging with them has brought us closer together and helped me realize that I am so much more effective in my profession through sequential focus rather than trying to parallel process many things at once.

What is your proudest dad moment?

Recently training them up to ride up a steep hill on a bike on the way to school. We had originally set a target to get up the hill (which we had initially walked) on their fixed gear bikes to 1-2 months. After constant encouragement and the allure of a reward, they were able to do it in just 10 days. Now they are cycling up the hill every day on their way to school.

If you could ask anyone, dead or alive, for their best parenting tip, who and what would that be?

I’m a fan of both Carol Dweck’s “Growth Mindset” and Angela Duckworth’s “Grit” books. If I could ask them for their parenting advice and how they implement strategies to promote growth mindsets and grit in kids I would find that very valuable.

How do you manage technology exposure for your child/children? For eg, thoughts on screen time, etc.

Screen time is consistently earned and not simply passively given. We have set limits per day and week, and minutes are made or deducted based on behavior and duties fulfilled.

What hobbies do you and your children share?

We enjoy exercising together; my not-so-secret desire is that our entire family completes a full Ironman triathlon together one day.

Finally, your best dad joke!

I’ll skip this one!

(From left) Klar founders Ellen Pranata, Adelia Susanto, and David Sugihartana / Photo credit: Klar

Indonesian dental startup bags seed funding from AC Ventures and Kopi Kenangan’s fund

(From left) Klar founders Ellen Pranata, Adelia Susanto, and David Sugihartana / Photo credit: Klar

Original post by Tech in Asia

Klar, an Indonesia-based dental startup, announced it has raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding led by AC Ventures.

Kenangan fund, the investment fund from the founders of Indonesian coffee chain Kopi Kenangan, also participated in the round.

Launched in September 2020, Klar produces clear aligners that can improve teeth alignment without the use of braces. It has partnered with more than 600 dentists in Indonesia and is present in more than 100 dental clinics across 32 cities in the country.

According to the company, its products are the only clear aligners made in Indonesia that are officially registered with the Ministry of Health.

Klar was founded by Ellen Pranata, former director of Cobra Dental (Indonesia’s largest importer of dental equipment and materials), with Adelia Susanto and David Sugihartana who both have experience in the dental space. Former Ruangguru chief operating officer Gita Prihanto and Cobra Dental chief executive Adrian Susanto also joined the company as advisors.

Klar claims that it can push down production costs because it manages everything in house, including owning the manufacturing facility. According to research company InsightSlice, the global clear aligners market was estimated to be at over US$2.3 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach US$39 billion by 2031.

The company will use the fresh funds for research and development to achieve economies of scale and treatment optimization, establishing Klar as the go-to brand for teeth correction solutions and expanding to complementary product offerings. It also wants to increase the team from 20 employees to at least 80 people by this year.

Current Figure:
AC Ventures
Founding Partner Adrian Li

后疫情时代,科技如何赋能印尼中小微企业 ?

Original Post by 7.5 degrees


这就是为什么AC Ventures一直非常关注围绕着解决中小微企业面临的问题的技术型方案,也是为什么我们强烈敦促企业家和投资人持续关注和评估这个领域的机会。在这篇文章中,我回顾了中小微企业面临的主要挑战,以及技术型企业如何解决这些挑战的几个例子。

根据印尼共和国合作社和中小企业部的数据,UMKM(即中小微企业)是印尼经济增长的引擎。印尼的中小微企业包括资产从5000万印尼盾以下(约3500美元)的微型企业,到资产为5亿印尼盾–100亿印尼盾(3,5000美元-69,0000美元)的中型企业,其中微型企业占中小微企业总数的98%,超过6000万登记的中小微企业占印尼国内生产总值的61%。 与印度等其他大型经济体相比,中小微企业对印尼经济的贡献和意义要大得多。以印度为例,中小微企业的贡献仅占国内生产总值的30%。与此同时,印尼中央统计局(BPS)2018年发布的数据显示,中小微企业雇佣的员工数量超过1.16亿人,相当于印尼劳动力的97%。