The Indonesian startup scene has seen rapid growth over the past few years, as 52 startups raised a combined total of $1.9 billion USD by September 2020. And now, tech startups in Indonesia have another reason to be excited. Singaporean investment firm Antler has decided to enter the market in the country, with $300 million USD available to inject into the burgeoning tech economy.  

The Indonesian government has recently embarked on a campaign to connect all of its regional capitals to broadband internet. This investment in internet infrastructure is helping, in conjunction with the pandemic’s reliance on eCommerce, to spike the internet penetration rates. The uptick in internet usage from the 2019 level of around 66% of the population to the expected level of almost 73% by the end of 2021 is aided by increased service provision and a move to online purchasing in light of lockdowns. At this growth rate, Indonesia expects to have over 80% of its population online by 2026. 

We speak to M Ventures about the state of Southeast Asia investments

The country’s middle-class income has also grown considerably, creating the perfect environment for the partnership between the Indonesia startup scene and Antler to produce lucrative results.  

Who is Antler?

Antler was founded in 2017 in Singapore to help startup companies achieve their full potential. It is an early-stage investor who has been impacting several regions worldwide by capitalising on numerous startups. The company maintains branch offices on almost every continent and is constantly on the lookout for new and exciting opportunities. 

By providing funding and support for startups across more than 30 different industries and 70 individual nations, the company boasts an enormous portfolio of diverse investments, including Wattworker, Brick, and hundreds of others. One specific item of note is that 50% of these companies have a female CEO, and 35% have at least one female co-founder.

Antler has now successfully raised over $300 million USD. It plans to start investing beyond early-stage financing to mark this milestone, providing funding right through to series C rounds. The added capital has also allowed Antler to expand its operations in Canada, Korea, Vietnam, and Indonesia.

Antler’s goals for Indonesia

The company has pledged to invest in 100 Indonesian startups over the next four years. The first rounds of these investments are scheduled for the beginning of 2022. The initial stage aims to invest in approximately 10-15 startups and increase that number as time goes on to ensure they reach their goal in the next four to five years.

Antler’s Indonesia branch will be headquartered in Jakarta, and it will be headed up by Subir Lohani, the former CEO of Carmudi. The company will focus on seeking out startups with execution-focused and flexible founders who possess a clear vision of their goals. Partnering with and supporting these nascent businesses will allow for opportunities to take advantage of Indonesia’s immense talent pool.  

With the country starting to focus more on various technology sectors, Lohani believes that Indonesia has the potential to lead the region in agritech. He feels that merchant digitalisation will also be a sector to watch as startups create products related to this niche and allow growth for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). 

How does this affect startups?

As one of the few investment firms in Southeast Asia that can support startups right from the beginning, Antler has added to its services with its current plans to invest right through to series C rounds. This pivot shows that it maintains a great deal of interest in the tech startup market and is willing to delve deeper into the landscape. This move will bring a considerable boost for startups in Indonesia over the coming years as Antler’s investments will give many the leg up they need to bring their ideas to the world. 

A Google Temasek report released recently states that Indonesia will be a $100 Billion USD internet economy by 2025, thanks to its rapid growth rate. As Antler begins to make its mark in Indonesia, the internet economy will be well on its way to making those figures a reality. 

The future for startups in Indonesia looks very promising. Antlers’ goal of investing in 100 startups over the next four years will help many new and exciting ventures get on their feet, bringing tremendous growth to the sector.

As tech startups in Indonesia continue to grow, it is only natural that the rest of Southeast Asia’s startups will do the same. The entire region is perfectly poised for startups to find investors and proliferate, with many potentially becoming unicorns. 

The partnership between the Indonesia startup scene and Antler, with its tremendous investments and aggressive goal of funding at least 20 startups a year through 2025, makes the sector one that’s r definitely worth keeping an eye on.