Opinion

Indonesia: Why it Matters, How to Enter & Where is its Next Unicorn?

In conjunction with GnB Accelerator’s recent Demo Day Batch #01 held in Jakarta, Indonesia, the GnB team also put together a panel discussion themed “How to Find a Baby Unicorn?”. Here is a list of key takeaways from the session.

1. Creative Economy Leads the Way 

The creative economy is key in driving Indonesia’s startup market further. The sector, which is worth about Rp700 trillion or US$5.3 billion, makes up 7% of Indonesian economy currently. Its sub-sector, mobile application, makes up about 1% of the country’s economy, and it is growing at a speedy rate of 8%.

2. Millions of Entrepreneurs to Emerge 

Indonesia currently has 3.74 million entrepreneurs (1.56%) of the 240 million population of Indonesia, which is still below 2%, an ideal comparative number in developing countries. The Indonesian Government has made a target forward to reach 2% of the total population or about 5 million people to become entrepreneurs.

3. The Market is Ready 

Indonesia fulfills the three key criteria used to access market readiness: (1) Capability of entrepreneurs – many young, talented and highly-educated Indonesians abroad are returning home and ready to add value to the country. (2) Potential of the market – Indonesia’s economy is growing rapidly with strong commitment from the government. Plus, many of its populations are going online at an unprecedented rate. (3) Availability of fund – the ability of Go-Jek, the on-demand motorbike taxi service that rivals Uber and Grab in Indonesia, to raise amazing amount of fund (US$550 million new funding in August 2016), is a testament to the availability of fund. If you have a good idea and a feasible business model, there should not be a problem for entrepreneurs to attract investors.

4. The Next Indonesian Unicorn Could Just Emerge From any Vertical

Although there are already many big players, such as Traveloka and MatahariMall, but the market has not fully been disrupted. The success of a startup lies in its availability to differentiate itself from the big players to offer better products and services, or potentially open up an entire new market that has not been discovered. In short, the next Indonesian unicorn would be the one who can spot the problem and truly solve it.

5. You Need an Indonesian Team 

Indonesia is a highly unique market. It has its own set of culture and social behaviours. Therefore, for investors and entrepreneurs who wish to set up shop in Indonesia, it would be very beneficial to have a local team. It would help move things significantly faster and easier.

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