Indonesia’s burgeoning startup scene has grabbed global headlines in recent years thanks to its explosive growth and rising investors’ confidence. Much of the spotlight has been on the country’s innovative fintech trends and its success in producing eight homegrown unicorns.
During Q1 of a year projected to see a record-breaking number of new unicorn arrivals, most likely from the sectors of eCommerce and digital banking, Indonesia-based fintech platforms received fresh funding and announced their plans for further development. The success of the following three players has been attributed to the boom of digital banking in Indonesia:
In January, Indonesia’s leading financial platform, KoinWorks, secured $108 million USD in its Series C funding, comprising $43 million USD in equity and $65 million USD in debt capital. The round was headed by MDI Ventures, the venture capital arm of Telkom Indonesia, with the participation of previous equity investors, such as East Ventures, Saison Capital and ACV.
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By supporting underserved and underbanked SMEs across the country, the company strives to democratise financial access. Offering various solutions, like the NEO Account and NEO Card, KoinWorks enables entrepreneurs to secure loans, grow their business and increase productivity.
During the pandemic, the startup’s user base grew to 1.5 million users in one year, and 100,000 SMEs joined their waitlist for its newest product. Plans for the new funds include further development of the company’s financial solutions and hiring 400 new employees globally.
Pluang, a Jakarta-based investment app, raised $55 million USD in a follow-on to its Series B funding, increasing the total to $110 million USD. American venture capital firm Accel led the round, backed by Axie Infinity founders Trung Nguyen, Andy Ho, Aleksander Leonard Larsen and Jeffrey Zirlin. Other participants included ex-LearnVest CEO Alexa Von Tobel, Pismo’s Daniella Binatti, Public.com co-CEOs Jannick Malling and Leif Abraham and others. Pluang’s existing investors, Square Peg, Go-Ventures, UOB Venture Management and Openspace Ventures, also contributed.
Pluang offers investment products of different class assets, allowing investors to diversify their holdings and reduce risk. Investments can start from less than $1 USD in gold, Micro E-mini index futures, crypto assets and mutual funds. It also plans to launch the first Indonesian product that allows users to invest in fractional shares of US stocks.
Pluang’s has over 4 million registered users because of its inclusion with super apps like Gojek, DANA, Tokopedia and Bukalapak.. The recent funding will enable the company to increase its asset classes, hire more employees, and expand across Southeast Asia, all while promoting financial literacy and inclusiveness.
Xendit, a Jakarta-based unicorn, recently announced its $300 million USD Series D funding, bringing its total amount to $538 million USD. The latest round was led by New York-based growth equity investors Coatue and Insight Partners, while other participants include prior leads Accel, Tiger Global and Kleiner Perkins.
Often called ‘Southeast Asia’s Stripe’, Xendit is one of the region’s fastest-growing payments infrastructure platforms, which operates in Indonesia and the Philippines. It allows businesses to accept payments from direct debit, credit/debit cards, virtual accounts, eWallets, QRIS, retail outlets and online instalments. In the last two years, the company has also invested in banking and other payment startups. It currently serves over 3,000 customers, including Grab, Wise and Traveloka.
Xendit plans to use the latest funding to further develop its platform solutions, invest in new markets, and expand into new countries, such as Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam.
Fintech trends to watch out
A few other Indonesian fintech deals have been completed or are in the works, following one of the latest financial trends: digital banks establishing a brick-and-mortar presence (and vice versa) to tap into the country’s sizeable unbanked population.
FinAccel, the parent company of BNPL platform Kredivo and digital credit platform KrediFazz, recently acquired a 75% share of Bank Bisnis, professedly marking the first time a fintech company has acquired a majority stake in an Indonesian bank. According to a DealStreetAsia report, P2P lender Amartha is also in talks to acquire 70% of local Bank Victoria Syariah.
Indonesian ride-hailing unicorn Gojek acquired a 22% stake in Bank Jago, while online stock trading platform Ajaib, the quickest startup in Indonesia to become a unicorn, acquired a 24% stake in Bank Bumi Arta for almost $50 million USD. Grab has a combined 16.3% stake in PT Bank Fama International with Singaporean telecommunications conglomerate Singtel, while fintech venture ZA Tech recently acquired a non-disclosed stake in local sharia digital Bank Aladin.
Meanwhile, in 2022, Bank Panin Dubai Syariah, the first and only full-fledged IDX-listed sharia bank, is looking at partnering with digital service platforms to strengthen its retail financing business in 2022.
With so many new avenues opening up for fintech startups, the digital banking Indonesia is adopting continues to advance steadily. The latest fintech trends of tech startups taking up stakes in domestic banks and the latter’s desire to grow their digital presence can only indicate one thing: Indonesian finance is headed for a digital future.