Indonesia’s fintech sector grew significantly in 2019, as the demand for P2P lending and digital financial services continues to increase thanks, in part, to the country’s high number of unbanked individuals, estimated to be approaching 113 million by the end of this year. Indonesia, with a population of over 270 million people, is the largest economy in Southeast Asia and also the second-largest recipient of investments in this extremely competitive region.
The vibrant startup ecosystem has already spawned five Unicorns, a title given to startups whose valuation is over $1 billion USD. One such company, eWallet OVO made the unicorn list in 2019, preceded by transport and logistics service Gojek, hotel and leisure booking platform Traveloka and C2C online marketplaces Tokopedia and Bukalapak.
Fintech is one of the fastest growing industries in the region. We explore the ‘how’ and the ‘why’.
With such a thriving startup landscape, it is not surprising that several companies have reached “soonicorn” status with valuations of over $100 million USD. Fintech firms such as digital credit platform Kredivo, consumer instalment loan provider Akulaku and SMEs crowdfunding network Modalku are leading the way, but others are now emerging strongly behind them.
Emerging fintech startups in Indonesia
With the pandemic pushing cashless banking solutions, the fintech sector reached new highs, spawning and boosting several fintech startups. Many have launched new products and services in the market, gained recognition or raised funds from venture capitalists (VCs) and notable investors.
Formerly trading as EmasDigi, Pluang offers a digital micro-savings platform and gold investment with a core mission to improve financial accessibility across the country.
In 2019 it raised $3 million USD in Series A funding from VCs and Gojek’s investment arm Go-Venture Capital, to help create new lines of financial services, such as USD savings and fixed return products accounts.
Initially, an aggregator platform, ALAMI, founded in 2017, focuses on the Islamic market by providing sharia-compliant financial solutions to SMEs.
To strengthen its operational structure, support its product development and talent acquisition Golden Gate Ventures, Agaeti Ventures and RHL Ventures all contributed as it raised an undisclosed amount of investment in 2019. As of March 2020, ALAMI has dispensed over $7.5 million USD in financing to SMEs in Islamic countries and is currently planning on becoming a digital bank.
Also founded in 2017, Halofina is a digital financial advisory and wealth management platform, helping users manage their personal finances. The mobile app facilitates direct investments and uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to provide investment strategy recommendations.
In November 2019, it successfully raised pre-Series A funding with Mandiri Capital Indonesia and European VC firm Finch Capital both contributing. The capital will be useful to help its product development and strengthen strategic partnerships while it is also aiming to increase its users to 500,000.
In September 2019, through Gobi Partners, its Meranti ASEAN Growth Fund, and Cheetah Mobile, the firm raised $24 million USD in funding to aid its expansion to the Philippines’ market, having obtained the relevant financial license from the Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission.
The company’s UangMe platform offers P2P lending to consumers and has around 5 million downloads already.
Accounting app, BukuWarung aims to accelerate and improve bookkeeping processes by tracking transactions and helping merchants with cash flow visibility via business reports. It raised $2.4 million USD in a seed funding round thanks to East Ventures and others. It then raised Series A funding of $5 million USD through a round led by Accion Quona Inclusion Fund.
It raised even more funds from other partners such as Soma Capital, DST Global, GMO Venture Partners, and high-profile angel investors from platforms like Tinder, Spotify and WhatsApp.
The firm aims to accelerate and improve bookkeeping processes by tracking transactions and helping merchants with cash flow visibility via business reports. It plans to grow its user-base and range of financial services by integrating monetisation products. In August, the firm partnered with OVO and DANA as it launched a digital-payment and eWallet service. So far, BukuWarung has more than 1.2 million merchants using its products.
The mass adoption of the increasing affordable Internet and mobile phone penetration is laying a solid foundation for future investments and productivity gains. The prolific ecosystem provides opportunities for fintech startups in Indonesia to improve the performance and efficiency of MSMEs and meet current customers’ needs. With the relevant Government support, the optimal utilisation of the technology, fintech startups can lead to equal financial inclusion and an estimated $150 billion USD in growth or 10% GDP – by 2025. The future of fintech in Indonesia is very bright indeed.