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.

Fresh fish at seafood market in West Java, Indonesia

Indonesia “sea-to-table” platform Aruna hooks $35M led by Prosus and East Ventures Growth Fund


Original post by TechCrunch

When Aruna’s founders first met at university, they wanted to find a way to use their studies in information technology to help family members who were running small fisheries. Indonesia is one of the world’s largest fisheries producers, but the industry is very fragmented. This means fisheries, especially small ones, deal with fluctuations in demand and price instability. Aruna was created to bring them closer to customers like restaurants and exporters, the way farm-to-table startups are aggregating the agricultural supply chain.

Aruna announced today it has raised $35 million in Series A funding led by Prosus Ventures and East Ventures Growth Fund, with participation from SIG and returning investors including AC Ventures, MDI and Vertex Ventures. Aruna says this is the largest Series A investment to date in Indonesia’s agritech and maritime sector.

The company works primarily with small fisheries (or ones that have boats with about one to two metric tonnes of capacity) and focuses on sustainability, helping suppliers adhere to the United Nations Goal 14’s targets. These include preventing overfishing, protecting coastal ecosystems and giving small-scale fisheries access to more resources and markets.

Aruna was founded in 2016 by Farid Naufal Aslam, Indraka Fadhlillah and Utari Octavianty, who met while studying information technology administration and management at Telkom University. Fadhlillah and Octavianty came from families in the fishing industry, and the three wanted to create something that would solve some of the challenges they faced.

“This was the main idea, but the bigger thing we saw at the time was the advantage of Indonesia’s position as a large agricultural country with big potential in the seafood industry,” Aslam told TechCrunch.

According to the World Bank, Indonesia is the world’s second largest fisheries producer. The sector creates about $4.1 billion in annual export earnings and supports more than 7 million jobs.

But Aruna’s founding team saw two major problems while analyzing coastal communities. The first one was market access and getting fair prices for seafood. The second was access to working capital.

To solve the first issue, Aruna was built to shorten the supply chain, which Aslam said can have six or seven layers between fisheries and buyers like restaurants, markets or exporters.

Buyers make purchase orders through the platform, which are then distributed to fishery communities that Aruna organizes to focus on particular types of seafood. This helps them predict demand, guarantee return business and prevent overfishing.

Aruna also built a logistics network that includes more than 45 collection sites, or warehouses where seafood is delivered by fisheries for quality checks, processing and packaging. Aruna’s warehouses are a combination of facilities that it owns or runs with partners. Deliveries are performed by third-party logistics providers.

The platform currently has about 20 product categories and will use its funding to expand into more. Its commodities include high-value products like lobster, which are shipped by exporters to markets like Malaysia, Singapore, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Canada and the United States.

One of Aruna’s main requirements for fisheries on the platform is sticking to its sustainability process. According to the World Bank, one of the biggest issues facing Indonesia fisheries is overfishing, which hurts marine biodiversity. Aruna team members work with fisheries to standardize their equipment so they comply with government regulations and chose locations that are not overfished.

By focusing on a few types of seafood each, fisheries that work with Aruna are better able to ensure the quality and traceability of their products, and manage pricing fluctuations.

The second problem Aruna is working on is lack of access to working capital. To help fisheries get low interest, collateral-free loans for equipment and other things they need for their businesses, Aruna partners with financial institutions and fintech companies. When an Aruna fishery applies for a loan, the platform is able to provide transaction data collected on the platform for credit scoring.

The company also announced today that it has appointed Budiman Goh as its president, and Octavianty as its chief sustainability officer. Its funding will be used to expand to new areas in Indonesia, hiring data analytics and tech development, including IoT devices to help perform quality checks.

Aruna plans to focus on Indonesia for the near future because of the large number of fisheries in the country.

“Currently we have 21,000 fishermen on the platform, yet there are about 2.7 million fishermen in Indonesia, so there is a lot of room to grow,” Aslam said.

In a statement, Sachin Bhanot, Prosus Ventures’ head of Southeast Asia investment said, “Having built a robust supply chain and technology infrastructure steeped with deep industry knowledge and expertise, we believe Aruna is uniquely positioned to service the growing global demand for sustainable fishery product, while supporting the livelihood of local fishermen.”

Founder Aruna

Indonesia’s fisheries platform Aruna secures $35 Million in Series A funding

Photo Credits: Aruna

Aruna, the leading fisheries and marine platform in Indonesia, announced its Series A funding totaling US$ 35 million.

The investment round was led by Prosus Ventures and East Ventures (Growth Fund) with the participation of SIG and existing investors, including AC Ventures, MDI, Vertex Ventures, and others. This funding round marks the largest Series A investment to date in the agritech and maritime sector in Indonesia, further strengthening Aruna’s leadership.

Founded in 2016 by Farid Naufal Aslam, Indraka Fadhlillah, and Utari Octavianty, Aruna’s vision is to transform Indonesia’s fisheries and marine supply chain and cater to the growing global demand for fishery products through technology innovation.

As the fisheries vertical is highly fragmented, Aruna’s tech-enabled platform serves as a one-stop-shop and end-to-end supply chain aggregator, streamlining the process for the country’s fishermen.

Indonesia consists of more than 17,500 islands and is currently the world’s second-largest fisheries producer, with market size of more than $30 billion. The fisheries sector also plays a crucial role in supporting coastline communities.

With over 3 million fishermen in the country, fishing is a way of life and provides an important food source for millions of people. Aruna has been at the forefront of driving innovation in the industry, experiencing robust growth of over 7x (year-over-year) in 2020.

With the tagline “Sea for All”, Aruna is committed to improving the living standards of the local fishing communities and driving responsible trade practices, which it believes are imperative for the long-term sustainability of the industry.

Currently, the overexploitation of our seas and oceans is negatively affecting marine biodiversity, making it even more vital to create a system that adheres to specified guidelines. Aruna adheres to stringent global standards, fisherman profiling, and traceability data, and empowers local community fishermen through financial inclusion, as the traditional fishing industry is still facing significant poverty and underdevelopment.

This funding will be used to expand Aruna’s nationwide presence and further strengthen its supply chain infrastructure. Aruna also seeks to cater to customers in new markets, diversify its product range, and continue to build its data analytics and technology backbone.

“Currently, Aruna has a base of 21,300 registered fishermen across 13 provinces in Indonesia. This funding round will enable us to further expand our network of fishermen and fish farmers across Indonesia and help service the huge global demand for our products. Aruna aspires to be a tangible solution to improve the living standards of Indonesia’s coastal communities,” said Farid Naufal Aslam, Co-Founder & CEO at Aruna.

“We are immensely proud to have been a part of Aruna’s journey to significantly improve the livelihood of millions of fishermen across Indonesia. As one of the largest maritime geographies in the world, Aruna is doing its part to ensure sustainable fishing to help preserve our sea ecosystem for future generations,” said Michael Soerijadji, Co-Founder & Managing Partner at AC Ventures.

Along with the fundraise, Aruna also announced the appointment of Budiman Goh, as President of the Company, and appointed Utari Octavianty, as Chief Sustainability Officer, to lead and strengthen the sustainability initiatives of Aruna.

“We support a sustainable and fair fisheries industry for all. Aruna continues to combine its technological capabilities with local insights and global best practices, while preserving the ecosystem, empowering local communities, and meeting the needs of our global customer base. Our vision is to make Indonesia the center of the world’s maritime economy in the future,” said Utari.

“We are impressed by Aruna’s progress and leadership in revolutionizing Indonesia’s fisheries and marine industry. Having built a robust supply chain and technology infrastructure steeped with deep industry knowledge and expertise, we believe Aruna is uniquely positioned to service the growing global demand for sustainable fishery products while supporting the livelihoods of local fishermen,” said Sachin Bhanot, Head of Southeast Asia Investments at Prosus Ventures.

Roderick Purwana, Managing Partner of East Ventures added, “this sector will grow rapidly.  Aruna’s vision is aligned with ours to build sustainable fisheries and marine economies that will have a positive impact for a long time. We look forward to seeing more innovation from the Aruna team.”

Copy of ALL KAOS EDEN_low res

Eden Farm supports the welfare of farmers and food self-sufficiency in Indonesia

Photo Credits: Eden Farm

Being classified as an agrarian country does not mean that Indonesia is free from various food and agricultural problems. Supply chain constraints are the main problems encountered in many areas in Indonesia. As a result, farmers live below the poverty line, and the food quality is not optimal.

Farmers and buyers in the field face several pain points. The main problem faced is the issue of transparency. Farmers experience difficulties because of intermediaries (middlemen) who arbitrarily hike the price. Farmers get an unreasonable price for the crops they sell.

The economic impact faced by farmers also affects the quality of their harvest. There is an inconsistency in the quality of the products sold in the market.

From these various problems, an agritech start-up, Eden Farm, came up with a solution to solve these problems. Eden Farm works with local producers across Indonesia to provide all kinds of food ingredients needed by the culinary businesses. They give their farmers more income and demand forecasts to maintain their production consistency.

Eden Farm positions itself as a B2B agri-tech eCommerce platform that collects, selects, and re-distributes fresh produce purchased from farmers, cutting out the middlemen in the supply chain to offer lower prices, consistent quality, and last-mile delivery to culinary businesses.

So far, Eden Farm’s distribution channels include Horeca, street vendors, EDN/markets, partnerships, enterprises, also resellers.

Armed with problem-solving technology, Eden Farm provides a better life for farmers and ensures food availability for Indonesia.

“Indonesia’s agriculture industry is powerful, as shown by the positive growth of the agri-food sector even during the pandemic. The strong industrial conditions and equipped with innovative business models and technology put Eden Farm in a strong position to carry out all of its development plans in 2021,” said David Setyadi Gunawan, Founder & CEO of Eden Farm.

Embracing sustainability in every business process

Photo Credits: Eden Farm

Eden Farm’s excellence in running its business is to apply sustainability principles in every business process consistently. Eden Farm builds strong relationships with the community (farmers) and collaborates with various parties to minimize the negative impact of their business.

Eden Farm collaborates with an environmentally friendly organic waste processing company, Magalarva. Foodstuffs supplied by Eden Farm must go through a sorting and packing process in the warehouse before being distributed to consumers. The sorting process can produce 350kg of organic waste, be transported to the Magalarva organic waste processing facility in the Mount Sindur area, and be processed into several organic fertilizers through a bioconversion process.

Magalarva converts organic waste into alternative animal feed raw materials and organic fertilizers by utilizing the bioconversion technology of Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia illucens.) larvae or known as BSF magot.

Based on data from March 2021, 8.6 tons of organic waste were successfully recycled into fertilizer. The fertilizer produced will then be supplied back to Eden Farm and used by Eden Farm’s partner farmers in the West Java region.

In addition, Eden Farm also maintains good relations and empowers its growing community of farmers. Eden Farm has embraced 2,000 farmers, with 65% of its products coming from the farming community to date. Eden Farm targets to increase this number to 85-90%.

Strengthen food security during the pandemic

Photo Credits: Eden Farm

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted EdenFarm to strengthen its role in the agritech industry. Eden Farm innovates by building Eden Farm Sourcing Center (ESC) and Eden Farm Distribution Network (EDN).

“The two programs are a continuation from upstream to downstream. ESC is a program of direct collaboration with farmers to determine cropping patterns, the certainty of selling prices, and the amount of farm produce taken every day. At the same time, EDN is a distribution network created by Eden Farm to empower many people. EDN is spread in various locations and is within a 5km radius of the customer so that delivery is faster and more efficient,” explained David.

The ESC and EDN programs aim to protect more than 1,000 partner farmers and food producers who have collaborated with Eden Farm to maintain the consistency of harvest absorption.

Then, ensure that more than 20,000 MSMEs and market traders who have become Eden Farm customers remain productive during this pandemic through the supply of vegetables, fruit, eggs, and necessities at the best prices. Eden Farm also has an installment program for customers to help them restart their culinary business in these difficult times.

Eden Farm’s ability to remain adaptive and innovative amid this uncertain situation strengthens its position as a highly reckoned agritech business player.

Co-Founder & Managing Partner at AC Ventures Adrian Li said, AC Ventures invests in businesses that address large-scale social needs through innovation and technology. And Eden Farm has succeeded in creating a business model that is difficult to imitate. Eden Farm has a strong network of farmers, consumer network with stable demand, and an efficient food supply chain.

“The supply chain system implemented by Eden Farm allows users to get more efficient prices, and farmers also get more optimal prices. We are delighted to partner with Eden Farm in line with their efforts to grow together and lead industry players in the digitalization process,” said Adrian.


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.

Ula -Podcast

Small Retailer Success: Nipun Mehra of Ula

Original Post by Indo Tekno Podcast

“At the end of the day, somebody needs to aggregate neighborhood demand in order to become the dominant solutions provider to Indonesia’s massive small retailer segment,” states Ula Founder and CEO Nipun Mehra. Ula is founded on the provocative assumption that “the traditional store actually has a massive advantage over modern retail formats.” The successful model will play to these existing strengths, not replace them, in bringing the mom & pop into the modern retail era.

portrait of asian young male cafe owner with tablet

4 Startups to Tackle Your Small-Business Problems

Photo Credits: 123rf/ Portrait of asian young male cafe owner with tablet.

MSMEs (Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises) play an essential role in contributing to Indonesia’s economic growth. The number of MSME players in Indonesia, based on the data published by Ministry of Cooperatives and SMEs of Republic of Indonesia, has reached almost 65 million or equivalent to 99% of the total business players in Indonesia. You might be one of them!

Unfortunately, the data also stated, only 10.25 million MSME players are connected to the digital platform. It is undeniable that digital literacy, such as using technology that can help business efficiency, is still poorly understood by MSME players—considering that this scale’s number of business players is so large with the uneven distribution of information and technology in Indonesia.

MSMEs generally face several challenges in their business. Ranging from business processes that are still traditional, including business bookkeeping, inefficient product procurement processes due to limited access to time and distance, and the lack of access to credit all lead to the inefficiency of operational business processes.

Now, we have four startups present to help MSME players in solving these various problems. The services and products offered by these four startups are worth a try because they can help your business operations become more efficient from upstream to downstream.


Photo Credits: Ula

This service is proven to increase daily profits by up to 15%. This result is calculated from the longer duration of the store opening, the possibility of reduced inventory, to competitive stock purchase prices.

Ula, which initially focused on providing FMCG products, has begun expanding other product categories tailored to stalls’ specific needs. Ula plans to continue to add its product categories, such as electronics and clothing. In addition, Ula also provides services that allow MSMEs to perform financial management and merchandise stock management through one application.

Launched in 2020, Ula has reached more than 25 thousand stall owners. This number has increased 40 times. Their operational points are spread across East Java, Central Java, and West Java.

“One of our missions when designing Ula was for shop owners to monitor the delivery process, and this service has proven to have a very positive impact on small retailers,” said Riky Tenggara, Co-Founder & COO of Ula.

BukuWarung Photo Credits: BukuWarung

The following startup that can help encourage MSME business growth is BukuWarung. There is no doubt in the acuteness in the problem that they are trying to solve as proven by the more than 6.5 million merchants spread across 750 cities in Indonesia that have used the BukuWarung service. BukuWarung has processed approximately $1.4 billion in annual payments and is ready to process more than $10 billion in yearly payments by 2022. So, what are the advantages of BukuWarung?

BukuWarung is an application that can help MSMEs perform bookkeeping (record all business financial transactions so that the business runs more efficiently and practically). If initially, MSME business players used manual records, now they can switch to digital records through BukuWarung.

Furthermore, BukuWarung is a great help for the MSMEs who give credit (Indonesians call kasbon) to their customers as BukuWarung provides a feature to collect these credits digitally, allowing the MSMEs to get their money back without having to feel bad (which is a strong culture in Indonesia).

Photo Credits: BukuWarung

As a holistic service, BukuWarung assists MSME players in recording transactions, billing, and paying through one platform. As an added value, transactions made at BukuWarung are free of admin fees. MSME players who use BukuWarung can also monitor their daily sales profits automatically.

In the future, BukuWarung plans to add more financial services for MSMEs, such as savings, insurance, and loans to their platform. Ultimately, BukuWarung aims to become the bridge for these MSMEs to financial services by enabling MSMEs to present financial information for applying to any type of financial service.

“We have run successful lending experiments with partners in fintech and banks and are on track to monetize our merchants supported by deep payments, accounting, and other data we collect,” said Abhinay Peddisetty, Co-Founder and CEO BukuWarung.


Photo Credits: ESB

For MSMEs engaged in the Food and Beverages (F&B) sector, ESB can be a solution for your business. This SaaS startup provides a variety of comprehensive solutions for restaurants.

ESB offers integrated solutions that can solve various problems faced by F&B players. Starting from providing solutions for ordering, POS (Point of Sales), KDS (Kitchen Display System), CDS (Customer Display System), kiosks, loyalty, and ERP and presently has had full stacks integrated software for entire restaurants operation from ordering, delivering and restocking.

“Given our experience as a problem solver for many F&B clients, we see that restaurants will lose revenue of 10% or more due to inefficiency. Therefore, three aspects must be improved: order and outlet management, HQ and operations, and purchases and vendors. The solution can be solved using technology,” explained Gunawan, Co-Founder & CEO of ESB.

Photo Credits: ESB

During this pandemic season, ESB proves to be a tremendous help to the customers they are serving by improving their efficiencies of operation, enabling mobile ordering for dine-in (which is a mandatory feature for restaurants these days), and allowing restaurants to have an independently managed delivery service. Due to this, ESB has become a necessity to their customers which include Ismaya group, Boga group, and MAP Boga.

ESB positions itself as a player that only focuses on the F&B business. This is the difference between ESB and other competitors. Because it focuses on one sector, ESB is able to present the concept of community-based software where ESB can solve the problems of a brand. The solution is implanted in the form of enhancement and causes other brands to enjoy its development. As a result, ESB software has become very sharp in overcoming F&B business problems.

ESB services continue to be developed, and now they have touched the realm of the B2B marketplace to help the process of procuring or supplying materials for restaurants easily and safely. F&B business people don’t need to invest more in logistics or warehouses. Business Intelligence (BI) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are also some of the services offered by ESB.

Interestingly, ESB collaborates with several players in the financial services industry to provide business loans if their users want to take their business to the next level.


Photo Credits: Majoo

Are you looking for comprehensive MSME business management services? Majoo is the answer. Majoo is a super-complete application for MSME business players. It starts from an online cashier application equipped with different navigation for each type of business, inventory, finance and accounting applications, attendance and employees, CRM, and business analysis you can find on Majoo.

Majoo also provides a dashboard that can be easily accessed via computers and smartphones. This application helps MSME businesses digitize their business operations to allow business players to run their business more efficiently. Majoo features Kitchen Display, Order Display, and Self Order features.

“Under Majoo’s mission to advance MSMEs with financial technology innovation to accelerate the growth of Indonesia’s digital economy, we support MSMEs to advance to class and open market access to the digital world. We believe that MSMEs play an important role in supporting the Indonesian economy. We also believe that every MSME should have the same opportunity to access technology and the digital economy that can help MSMEs to grow,” said CEO & Founder of Majoo Adi Wahyu Rahadi.

As the next goal for Majoo, Majoo wants to help traditional MSMEs to sell online by providing an easy integration to online marketplaces and seamless inventory management across all the marketplaces which the users are selling. This plan is to support MSMEs during the pandemic which enforce the importance of selling online for all MSMEs.

These startup lines offer opportunities for MSME business people to transform their businesses and achieve much better business growth. The visions and missions brought by these four startups are in line with AC Ventures, namely to impact the environment better. AC Ventures believes there is tremendous value in providing solutions to MSMEs and opportunities to enter the Indonesian consumer market through these MSMEs.

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Durianpay Joins Sequoia’s Surge Rapid Scale-Up Program

Photo Credits: Durianpay

AC Ventures’ portfolio company, Durianpay, officially joins Sequoia’s Surge, a rapid scale-up program. Durianpay is one of 23 selected startups in the fifth cohort with total funding $55 million from Surge and co-investors.

Durianpay carries a vision to modernize payment systems in Southeast Asia (SEA) which helps improve the customer and merchant experience.

“We’re building a fully integrated and comprehensive payments stack that enables businesses to grow and scale. Durianpay has launched in Indonesia with one-stop solutions for frictionless checkout, easy-to-integrate modern APIs, and a single dashboard to manage payment processes across local payment methods,” said Natasha Ardiani, Co-Founder & COO of Durianpay.

Durianpay sees the tremendous potential that exists in SEA. The phenomenon in this region shows that there has been a boom in the consumer market in the e-Commerce sector and other super applications in recent years. However, this growth is not in line with the growth of the payments capability in Indonesia.

“There is a proliferation of payment methods, a lack of mobile optimization, and a reliance on multiple manual processes. This causes problems for consumers and merchants alike – from high cart abandonment rates due to checkout friction to time-consuming, error-prone, and fraud-prone manual steps,” explained Antara Sara Mathai, CEO & Co-Founder of Durianpay.

Some solutions offered by competitors require complex integration, while others let business owners reconcile their payments manually. The majority of them charge high prices for small entrepreneurs.

Trying to overcome this problem, Durianpay innovates by presenting products that can bridge the technology gap in the market. Through a single integration, Durianpay offers access to a wide range of payment options and a no-code interface where businesses can create workflows that automatically deploy merchant payments infrastructure. The checkout and payment processes are fully customizable by the merchant.

As a result, businesses can change their payment infrastructure without requiring external intervention and the ability to connect third-party solutions for fraud, KYC, CRM, or Business Intelligence directly into these systems without incurring additional burdens on their product, finance, or technology teams.

“We are bullish in the growth of digital payment as a sector and with that, there will be increasing demand for a solution to answers all the technical difficulties around it. We are excited to partner with Durianpay to upgrade how digital payment is integrated and done in Indonesia. We have witnessed our portfolios going through pain points which can be solved through an easily integrated and error-free payment gateway aggregator which Durianpay is building,” said Adrian Li, Managing Partner of AC Ventures.

Launched in September 2020, Durianpay, headquartered in Singapore and Indonesia, was founded by Antara Sara Mathai, Kumar Puspesh, and Natasha Ardiani. Each of the founders has the experience that supports them in realizing Durianpay’s mission to modernize the payment system in SEA.

Antara (Co-Founder & CEO of Durianpay) has led product teams in the FinTech and SaaS sectors, including Citrus Pay and Online Pajak. Meanwhile, Puspesh (Co-Founder of Durianpay), the was founder of India’s top game development company, Moonfrog. Natasha Ardiani (Co-Founder & COO of Durianpay) is the figure behind Shopee Indonesia’s digital payments and PayLater businesses. She also briefly led the OVO lending and collection business.

With the strong background of the founders, supported by the experience of joining Surge, Durianpay is ready to bring a more significant impact in the SEA market.


Targeting US$3 Billion Aligner Market, KLAR Raises Seed Funding Led by AC Ventures

KLAR, an Indonesian aesthetic dentistry technology startup, announced the closure of its seed funding round led by AC Ventures, with participation from the Kenangan Fund. Combining cutting-edge technology with orthodontic expertise, KLAR creates a modern ultra-clear aligner that is comfortable to wear and can improve teeth aesthetics and alignment without the use of braces.

The startup plans to use the funding for four business goals: 1) R&D development to achieve economies of scale and treatment optimization so patients can enjoy world-class quality treatment without breaking the bank, 2) expansion of KLAR’s talent base to help propel the company’s growth going forward to stay on top of the market trends, and become a market leader, 3) establishing KLAR as the go-to brand for patients and partnering dentists for hassle-free teeth correction solution, and 4) venture into complementary product offerings to offer a holistic aesthetic and functional dental treatment for patients.

“This funding is the first step to grow KLAR further and achieve all of our goals when we decided to establish this startup. Our investors and us agreed from the start that our business goal is to provide reliable dental technology solutions for the patients. 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.

KLAR’s Strong Tractions and Business Model

Launched in September 2020, KLAR has quickly grown to become one of Indonesia’s most exciting dental technology brands. The company has partnered with 600+ dentist partners (dentists and orthodontists) throughout the archipelago in less than a year.

To meet the increasing needs of a healthy, straight set of teeth and an attractive smile, KLAR is now present in more than 100 dental clinics across 32 cities. Jakarta, Bali, and Surabaya are the company’s key cities. Despite operating during the Covid-19 pandemic, the startup is still recording strong revenue growth.

KLAR’s founders are heavyweights in the dental space and pose an unfair competitive advantage in this industry. Ellen Pranata, as the CEO, 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. This trifecta is helped by advisers: Gita Prihanto (former COO of edtech RuangGuru and former Senior Director at Grab Indonesia) and Adrian Susanto (CEO of Cobra Dental).

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

The company embraces a B2B2C business model. KLAR 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 called KLAR Smile. This is a crucial differentiator that reduces the number of visits and time spent on periodic check-ups.

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

“Our aesthetic dental treatment quality is world-class, but we’re able to offer it at a fraction of the price because our production and treatment plans are all done within Indonesia,” Ellen added. The 20-strong team aims to grow its talent pool to at least 80 people this year to keep up with increasing demand.

The innovative KLAR Aligners were developed by experienced orthodontists, and each set is tailor-made to suit each patient’s needs. In fact, the ultra-clear aligners from KLAR are the only clear aligners made in Indonesia that are officially registered with the Indonesian Ministry of Health – thus it is guaranteed to be safe and comfortable to use. KLAR Aligners offers a holistic teeth malocclusion treatment, which will ensure a healthy bite alignment after treatment.

KLAR teeth aligner

“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 worth 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, Founding & General Partner of AC Ventures. 

“We are very honored to be trusted by AC Ventures, Kenangan Fund, and all participating investors. AC Ventures has a long experience working with early-stage startups, while Kenangan Fund is our inspiration in fostering brand affinity among customers. In the future, we hope to continue our purpose in educating Indonesians about the importance of oral health and dental aesthetics – which can be the key to good health and a better quality of life,” Ellen concluded.

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Finantier Raises 7-Figure Seed Capital in a New Funding Round


Photo Credits: Finantier

Finantier, a Southeast Asian Open Finance startup providing an API platform for financial institutions to access and analyze consumer financial data, has raised a 7-figure seed funding round led by Global Founders Capital (GFC) and East Ventures (EV).

The round was oversubscribed, and funds were presented at a post-money valuation of more than 20 times its pre-seed valuation in November 2020.

Future Shape, a venture capital firm founded by Tony Fadell, one of the inventors of the iPhone, participated in this round of funding. Several world-renowned fintech investors, such as Parttech Partners, Taurus Ventures, Saison Capital, and GMO Venture Partners, also participated. Finantier also welcomes Francesco Simoneschi, Co-Founder and CEO of Truelayer, as their advisory board to strengthen its advisory board.

Several existing investors, such as AC Ventures, Y Combinator, Genesis Ventures, Two Culture Capital, and leading angel investors, took part.

“We at AC Ventures are proud to be early investors with Finantier, especially in backing founders with an extraordinary mission to create an enormous impact on many individuals and the overall economy. This fundraising is a great milestone in the long journey of achieving inclusive finance in Indonesia and beyond,” Adrian Li, ACV’S Founder & Managing Partner said.

Finantier is part of the Winter 2021 Y Combinator batch. Since the start of the year, the company has expanded its team more than five times to 50 employees while growing its clients and partnerships by more than 50 percent month-on-month.

The fresh funds will be used to increase Finantier’s product offerings, continue its expansion in Indonesia and the region, and double the size of its team.

Democratizes Access To Financial Services

Photo Credits: Finantier

According to Bain, more than 70 percent of adults in Southeast Asia do not have access to financial services. At the same time, millions of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the region face significant funding gaps. This can be attributed to the high unbanked population and inadequate financial infrastructure in Southeast Asia.

Many Indonesian financial institutions lack access to consumer financial data, handicapping them to provide financial services such as payments, lending, and insurance. This is due to the high unbanked rate within Indonesia.

According to Bank Indonesia data in East Ventures Digital Competitiveness Index (EV-DCI) 2021, over half of the population or 90 million adults remain unbanked. This limits financial institutions’ ability to assess their banking data for product or service eligibility.

Founded in 2020, Finantier solves this problem by aggregating data from alternative data sources such as gig economy platforms and telcos. The company works with over 150 companies, giving clients access to a comprehensive range of datasets.

After user consent is obtained, these datasets are then analyzed to provide detailed insights on consumers for financial institutions, allowing them to offer financial services to the unbanked. This significantly reduces the number of people who lack access to essential financial services, accelerating financial inclusion within Indonesia, which the government has identified as a critical priority.

“Finantier democratizes access to financial services by allowing the millions of unbanked – from roadside warungs (SMEs) to gig economy workers – to benefit from their digital data footprint. By unlocking access to basic financial services for the unbanked, we are enabling them and their loved ones to lead better lives,” Diego Rojas, Co-founder and CEO of Finantier said.

Finantier is the only Open Finance firm within Southeast Asia, working closely with regulators and advising in Open Banking and Open Finance standards. Fintech veterans lead the company with decades of combined experience.

CEO Diego Rojas worked closely with the co-founders of NYSE-listed LendingClub and was the Technical Lead at the founding team of GIC-backed Dianrong. This Chinese online lending marketplace has raised more than US$550 million in funding. Diego was also a former CTO and Advisor for other fintech startups within Southeast Asia. COO Edwin Kusuma was formerly CEO of P2P lending firm 360Kredi and previously Director of Operations at Kredinesia. CPO Keng Low was a Silicon Valley software engineer and previously an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at East Ventures.

“Open Finance is an extension of Open Banking. Through Open Finance, non-banking financial data are now securely aggregated too. With Open Finance facilitating the open exchange of consumer data, companies can leverage it to reach more customers while creating more personalized financial services,” says Diego.

Pandu Sjahrir, Founding Partner of AC Ventures & Chairman of Indonesia FinTech Association (AFTECH) added, “in order to accelerate Financial Inclusion and increase innovation in Financial Services across Indonesia, collaboration is key among regulators, associations, and the private sector. The Finantier team is doing a great job by proactively engaging all the parties while building a Fintech platform and a sustainable ecosystem aligned with the vision of a more inclusive country.”