Billionaire investor Tim Draper shifts focus from China to Indonesia

Tim Draper. Photo: DFJ website

Billionaire investor Tim Draper sees opportunities in Indonesia, especially with bitcoin and blockchain technology, as entrepreneurs take advantage of a lack of modern banking infrastructure to build their own.

Despite its young tech-savvy citizens raised on smartphones and apps, Indonesia has the second-highest dependency on cash in the world after India, according to the World Bank. The managing partner of Draper Associates expects users to jump to cryptocurrency.

“They don’t have very good banking services. So they have an opportunity to use bitcoin and make that as their currency,” he said in a Bloomberg Television interview with Haidi Lun and Rishaad Salamat from Jakarta.  “Suddenly, we’ve got this major opportunity that’s not going to be around for those countries that already have strong infrastructure.”

Draper is one of the most high-profile U.S. venture capitalists to begin turning their attention from China to Indonesia, the biggest country in Southeast Asia. Earlier this week he said he wasn’t going to make new investments in China because it was difficult to get money out amid capital controls.

“I can’t justify investing any more money in a country where they’re not letting money out,” he said Thursday. “It’s like putting money into a black hole.”

Draper was visiting Indonesia’s capital city for the first time Thursday to meet with ride-hailing service Go-Jek as well as startups backed by Wavemaker Partners, a Southeast Asian-focused venture capital firm.

“This is a great place to be. There is going to be a lot going on here.”

Draper gained fame for investments in startups that went on to become household names, such as Baidu Inc., Tesla Inc. and Skype.

Also Read: Early Baidu backer Draper weary of China investments amid capital controls

India: Blume joins Draper Venture Network for global reach

Bloomberg

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.