Indonesian lender BNI mulls setting up VC arm, investing in fintech

Photo: REUTERS/Garry Lotulung

Indonesian state-owned Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI) is exploring setting up a venture capital arm and begin investing in fintech startups, according to BNI director Rico Rizal Budidarmo.

“There has been a proposal about that, and it’s already sitting on my desk right now. It’s only a matter of time,” Budidarmo told reporters in Jakarta.

“In the meantime, we have already launched a few initiatives to promote fintech, particularly digital banking. As an organisation, we also have many designated divisions to help us develop this technology to support the business,” he added.

If realized, the move would put BNI among a host of banks that have already launched, or are planning to acquire, their own VC entities.

The most notable of these is state-owned Bank Mandiri that launched its own VC unit in 2015. The VC arm, Mandiri Capital Indonesia (MCI), has been one of the most active investors in fintech since then, committing $15-20 million in investments per year.

Recently, state lender Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI) also announced that it was in the process of acquiring a VC firm.

The due diligence is currently underway and is expected to conclude this year. “(The acquisition is) considering that we don’t have VC and security subsidiaries yet. We continue to focus on expanding and strengthening our subsidiary units,” BRI president director Suprajarto was quoted as saying earlier.

It is very likely that the lender’s new VC arm will be headed by Indra Utoyo, a former director for innovation and strategic portfolio at Telkom, whom BRI appointed last March as its operational director.

In January this year, private lender Bank Central Asia (BCA) launched a venture capital business unit called Central Capital Ventura (CCV). It has committed Rp 200 billion ($15 million) in investments so far.

According to market observers, total investment into the Indonesian fintech industry is expected to reach $8 billion by 2018. Authorities and players alike have been working together to embrace the boom, launching new regulations and injecting capital into the sector.

Also Read:

Indonesia: Bandar Al Hajjar is new president of IDB; GoJek ties up with BCA for Go-Pay

Indonesia: Bank Central Asia launches VC unit, to invest $15m in fintech

Indonesia lender BRI hires Telkom exec to boost fintech, to form VC unit

Indonesia: Mandiri Capital leads series-A round in P2P startup Amartha

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.