Indonesia’s startups are currently developing a range of E-commerce, mobile, social media, digital content and entertainment offerings, with a focus on ideas that are based on sustainable business models. While the largest investments early in 2012 went into broad-based E-commerce sites, more recent investments have been focused on E-Commerce verticals, mobile apps, and services that leverage social connections.
Increasing levels of startup innovation
A clear sign of the maturing tech sector in Indonesia is the move away from cloning foreign websites that characterised the initial internet growth spurt in 2010 and 2011, and the increasing number of services that are clearly aimed at particular customer needs in Indonesia. Case in point: Saqina’s new Pinterest-flavoured website specialising in muslim women’s fashions.
Below is a categorisation of the various startups which have been funded since the start of 2012, together with the types of startups which are currently being incubated by the various accelerators, incubators and early-stage funds in Indonesia.
A significant number of startups exist below the radar
The table above is based on information in the public domain, yet Indonesia has always been a country where investors love to do deals on the quiet. Many startups exist in the Indonesian equivalent of stealth mode, happily building customer bases and striking partnership deals with nary a PR release in sight.
In particular, there are a number of companies working on:
- Various categories of B2B software
- Services targeted at the huge base of feature phones
- Financial services such as banking and insurance
- SMS and other messaging-based services
- Ad platforms for the mobile operators
- Locally-oriented search engines
These are typically funded by close-knit networks of business associates (Indonesia’s equivalent of friends & family funding), and are often able to reach a significant size before their existence becomes widely-known.