Indonesia hopes its e-commerce ecosystem churns out a unicorn or two by next year

Fresh from a visit to the Silicon Valley’s tech entrepreneurial ecosystem, Indonesia’s Communication and Information Technology Minister Rudiantara is hoping that the country’s digital economy will produce at least two ‘unicorns’ in the e-commerce business in 2016.

Unicorn is a popular term in the investment industry for a start-up company whose valuation has exceeded $1 billion.

“The target is we have a unicorn next year. By 2020, we want that there should be at least 10 unicorns in Indonesia,”  the minister told DEALSTREETASIA.

During his US visit, Rudiantara was accompanied by Indonesia’s top e-commerce players including ride sharing application GoJek‘s Nadim Makarim, Tokopedia founder William Tanuwijaya, Mataharimall.com chairman Emirsjah Satar, Traveloka founder Ferry Unardi and Kaskus founder Andrew Darwis.

The delegation met with Silicon Valley venture capitalists such as Sequoia Capital as well as top executives of technology giants Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Apple.

“The point of the visit is to allow the Silicon Valley businesses to see opportunities for investing in Indonesia and vice versa. It will also help enrich our e-commerce road map which is being drafted by the government,” Rudiantara said.

It is interesting to note that Indonesia still has e-commerce in its negative investment list, which bars or limits entry or holdings by foreign players. The country is, however, planning to remove this high-growth sector of the digital economy from the negative list next year.

According to Rudiantara, Indonesia’s digital economy has an estimated value of $130 billion, or around Rp 1,756 trillion. One of the goals of the Indonesian government is to develop up to 1,000 technopreneurs by 2020 who will create businesses worth $10 billion.

On the government’s part to boost this sector, head of the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) Franky Sibarani said in press statement, Indonesia requires a special zone that can accommodate the software and information technology industry.

Digital innovations and tech industries need a conducive business climate and a startup ecosystem to thrive, he said.

Franky suggested that Bandung Technopark in West Java was suited as an environment to stimulate growth of the digital economy.

“After this visit, we will discuss with the Mayor of Bandung Ridwan Kamil to accelerate the realisation of special areas for digital and creative economy, so it can be offered to investors,” said Franky.

Rudiantara, Franky as well as Indonesian Trade Minister Thomas Lembong and the Head of Indonesian Agency for Creative Economy Triawan Munaf were part of the delegation who visited Silicon Valley this week after accompanying President Joko Widodo on his US visit.

Also Read: 

Indonesia plans to scrap e-commerce from negative investment list, move will allow more foreign funding for online businesses

Indonesia’s Tokopedia raises $100m from Softbank, Sequoia

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.