Indonesian VC East Ventures looks to raise $609k for COVID-19 detection, cure

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.

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.