Exclusive: Indonesia VC Kejora Group to raise $80m second fund; gets on board i-banking veteran

Founder Mountain Kejora Sebastian Togelang - Photo by Vincencia NLS

Indonesian venture capital firm Kejora Group is on the road to raise its second fund which has a target size of $80 million.

Kejora, which is among the active early-stage investors in the region, raised a $12 million fund in 2013 which it deployed across 25 startups as seed capital. In its second outing, the seed stage fund has substantially raised the corpus size by over six times as it approaches institutional investors.

In fact, ahead of this big fund raise, Kejora has roped in Eri Reksoprodjo, formerly of PT Saratoga Capital Management, LLC, as a partner to take the entity to the next level. A seasoned investment banker, Reksoprodjo has served stints at Citibank in Jakarta and CIBC World Markets in Singapore in his previous roles.

The Kejora platform was founded by Andy Zain and Sebastian Togelang, two long-standing serial entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia. The team launched Mountain Kejora Ventures as a joint venture with Zurich-based Mountain Partners, in 2013. Mountain Kejora then set up an incubator – Ideabox – with local telecom provider PT Indosat Ooredoo Tbk (ISAT).

Mountain Kejora tends to invest in companies coming out of its incubator though not exclusively. Its investments include  financial comparison startup Cek Aja, company comparison site for employees Qerja, real time bargain finder Dealoka, and digital performance consultancy YDigital and its recent investment is marketplace Jualo.

Many of its portfolio firms have raised or are in the process of raising institutional rounds from international venture capital firms.

Mountain Kejora Ventures, which calls itself as a builder of technology startups based in Jakarta, says, its involvement in portfolio firms goes beyond financial investment and covers go to market strategy & expansion plans for the region as well.

In a free-wheeling interview with DEALSTREETASIA, Kejora co-founder Sebastian Togelang talks about the fund-raising environment, Indonesia’s economic and business landscape, regulatory bottlenecks and the fund’s investment focus. Edited excerpts:-

What are the sectors Kejora will invest in?

Everything. But, basically, we focus on technology or digital investment.

Tell us about your second fund?

We are now currently preparing the second fund. We are in the process of arranging it (the second fund).

We are probably looking to raise $80 million. It (the fund raising) is yet to start. We have a lot of things to do first (before launching it).

What are the kind of startups that you are talking to?

We invested in several companies in the like e-commerce space at end of 2015. Now we have several companies in the pipeline that we are doing due diligence on.

You have four units under Kejora Group. Is that correct?

We have Kejora Ventures, Ideabox (JV with Indosat), Mobile Monday Indonesia, Founder Institute and NXTCon. We are also active in mentorships programmes and in in supporting the ecosystem in Indonesia. We just established Fintech Association. We have ‘Slipi Silicon Valley’ in Jakarta office. There are 25 startups in our incubator.

Do you think Indonesia will become the next start up nation after China?

Definitely. Singapore doesn’t have the market (base), it only has a supportive government, which is very good. But the market is Southeast Asia. Indonesia has almost half of Southeast Asia’s population and is the fourth largest country in the world.

Your company has just hired an investment banker Eri Reksodiprojo. What would his key role be?

I’m just an entrepreneur who can build passion for startups. We need somebody to take the business to the next level, somebody with fund management and finance background. Eri has extensive experience there and also can balance our skills.

Last year, there were significant funds flowing into startups. Will this trend continue this year?

I hope so. What is clear is that the interest of investors is increasing. We do really hope that the Indonesian government supports that. If there are no foreign investors, there won’t be Tokopedia, Go-Jek and so on.

What do you think of the government’s plan to tighten or limit foreign investment in startups?

No, don’t limit it because it will stop the growth of Indonesia.  If you look at China, one of the biggest company that produces a lot of value is in the e-commerce sector. So, It could happen in Indonesia also if we all work together on that. If the government does not support that (e-commerce), that is not good for Indonesia. For startups, please don’t limit too much. Bigger companies, in fact, they do not really need additional capital.

What do you think about the negative investment list, in which e-commerce is included?

All these companies (e-commerce firms) are new here and they need investment form others. Opening Indonesia will help Indonesia to grow.

Bank Mandiri just launched a venture capital unit. Is that a good sign for Indonesia? 

Indonesia has a lot of problems and more people are working to resolve it. The more people believe in the sector, the more it can be developed. We are hoping more and more venture capital investments will come. It is a good sign. Compared to China, Indonesia is still very-very small. In US, there are hundreds of venture capital firms. In Indonesia, there are probably only 10 active VCs. Indonesia is a big market, there is a lot of room for growth.

Also Read : 

Indonesian e-classifieds marketplace Jualo raises seed funding

Indonesia: Laku6 secures undisclosed seed funding in round led by GGV

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.