Venture capital firm East Ventures says it is targeting to raise a total of Rp 10 billion ($609,000) to produce 100,000 coronavirus test kits and finance a vaccine research project in Indonesia.
The early-stage investment firm says it will work with one of its portfolio companies, deep-tech startup Nusantics, on the initiative. Nusantics is a member of the Technological Research and Innovation Task Force for COVID-19 under the Indonesia Technology Assessment and Application Agency (BPPT).
The company is currently developing a test kit to detect COVID-19, specifically designed for the Indonesian population. It also plans to run a whole-genome sequencing to profile the SARS-CoV-2 virus genome. Genomic mapping is essential because virus is continuously mutating to adapt to its host and environment.
Of the targeted fund, East Ventures said Rp 9 billion will go into producing 100,000 test kits, while the remaining Rp 1 billion will be used to finance the whole genome sequencing project.
The money will be raised through a crowdfunding donation campaign that will start on March 30, 2020. The public can participate in the movement by accessing Indonesiapastibisa.com to donate money, equipment, or skill.
East Ventures says it will also involve other portfolio companies in the movement. Peer-to-peer lender KoinWorks, for example, will be roped in to provide and manage the crowdsourcing platform. The fund will be disbursed directly to vendors providing materials and equipment for the project, and audited by an independent third party.
Meanwhile, media startup IDN Media will publish weekly progress reports and announce all donations received on its website.
“Each of East Ventures portfolio company has various expertise in different industries. By taking a small part of that expertise, we are able to create an innovative platform, Indonesia Pasti Bisa. Koinworks contributes their capability in compliance and disbursement management, IDN Media provides their outreaches and storytelling skill, while deep-tech bioscience company Nusantics act as the spearhead,” said East Ventures co-founder and managing partner Willson Cuaca in a statement.
Indonesia announced its first two COVID-19 cases in early March. Now, less than a month later, the toll has grown to over 1,200 cases.