5 reasons to tap into the startup ecosystem In Indonesia

What is in common between Skype, Alibaba, Xiomi, and Spotify? Besides the fact that they are billion dollar unicorns and their products are elite, useful and convenient as those made in the Silicon Valley, they were not started in the Silicon Valley. Their products are used by people worldwide, borders and nationality is no hindrance to the users.

Tech entrepreneurs are gravitating to locations beyond the Silicon Valley to fulfil their startup dreams. While there is a surge in the number of startups in India, China, Singapore, and Japan, the Indonesian startup market is still in the nascent stage.

In this article, I highlight 5 alluring reasons to tap into the startup ecosystem in Indonesia.

Indonesian population is technology friendly

Indonesia is one among the most active countries on social media. It has Facebook’s fourth largest number of users and fifth largest number of users of Twitter.

The internet users are projected to grow from 55 million (2014) to 125 million (2015). 74% mobile users use social media apps and on an average a person spends 2 hours 54 minutes on social media each day. Apple, Facebook, Twitter and Uber have started their offices here.

In Indonesia, social media governs politics, business, entertainment and multinational relations. For startups looking to venture into social media space, there lies immense opportunities in this field.

“N” number of problems to be solved

The top three entrepreneurial markets – USA, China, and India are saturated with startups. For opportunistic startups looking to solve the problems already solved in these countries, Indonesia has fundamental, challenging and obvious problems. (Need a problem from your end that is not yet solved)

A report by CNN stated that Indonesia is one of the fragile five economies due to the abundant opportunities awaiting to be explored. The sectors that need innovations include telecom, internet, energy, food and agriculture.

While restaurant based, ecommerce and online ticket booking apps are popular in India, China, Singapore and other parts of South Asia, their presence is very low in Indonesia. People across all countries face similar pain points. So pick up a problem, develop the required solution and voila, your million dollar idea is ready.

At LiteLabs, we are launching SearchOn that allows online booking of Movie shows, a two way restaurant booking system wherein the user can book a particular table at a specific time while the restaurant staff can see how far you are from the restaurant and a review posting mechanism. It plans your whole day out along managing the logistics – so that you can sit back and enjoy. No more would you face mismanagement for your day or night out with friends and family.

A nascent startup market

China received US$9.9 billion over 188 deals while India received US$5.6 billion over 168 deals in 2014 (report). 36 Indonesian startups received funding and since many did not disclose the funding amount, we do not know the exact amount pumped in by the investors.

There is no lack of talent in Indonesia, but the awareness of entrepreneurship is missing. With the heavy concentration of internet and smartphone users, mobile related startups have immense scope of acceptance.

This is the best time to enter the Indonesian market with your products, as the tech loving people are open to adopting new products and ideas but the pace at which new ideas are being materialized is slow.

Taxi services similar to Uber have come up in India (Ola Cabs) and China (Didi Kuaidi) and are doing extremely well in both these countries. This shows that since reinventing the wheel is impossible all the time, you can replicate successful business models from other countries with iterations based on the local market.

Ease of hiring talent

Since there is no cutthroat competition among startups to hire the best talent, you have all chances to have the best Indonesian talent work for you. A turnoff, you might have to get people with the right attitude and train them in the way you want.

Boston Consulting Group’s report predicts that by 2020 top corporate firms will be able to fill only 50% of their entry level jobs with qualified employees. There is a shortage of qualified staff and you’ll have to train them according to your business needs.

Ultimately it all sums up to how well you convince people to join your team and work with you. Sell a value proposition, show them how they’ll benefit from this and that’s how you hire the best talent.

Since most of the population here speaks the local Bahasa language, as foreigners you might face difficulty in entering the local market. Partnering with a local would be the best option. This is advantageous since they have a better idea about the problems faced by the public.

Ripe internet market

With the widespread use of internet among Indonesia’s netizens, this is a ripe market to be explored. The digital domain is overflowing with boundless opportunities owing to the fact that the citizens are already internet friendly.

The first rule of starting up is to find a problem and come up with a solution rather than coming up with a solution and then looking for demand.

In the Indonesian startup ecosystem you notice a perfect blend of inspiration and hard work. Business plans are being hatched, opportunities being created and a whole new market is emerging.