Funding innovative and life-changing technology is big business. Venture capital (VCs) firms worldwide invest money, resources, time, and mentoring. They provide access to networks and open new markets for startups in the hope of creating sustainable companies and, of course, making money for the VC. Many VCs have turned their attention to Southeast Asia as an emerging tech hotspot in order to invest in and profit from its rapidly developing startup ecosystem.
Funding by VCs in Indonesia is amongst the most prolific in the region, even though businesses are scattered across the vast archipelago. Many of the top VCs Indonesia receives investments from are finding companies with the potential for favourable returns, making Indonesia home to the second-largest fund flow in the region.
Alpha JWC Ventures
Creating sustainable, successful partnerships with startups and entrepreneurs is at the core of the Alpha JWC model. From incubation support and funding to the exit phase, this Jakarta-based VC firm works with various sectors, including fintech, logistics, data and F&B startups. It contributed USD $8 million in support to Indonesia’s largest coffee chain, Kopi Kenangan, in 2018, helping it reach its unicorn status in December 2021.
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In April 2022, the VC announced that it had seen the signing of 30 new deals as part of its Fund III programme, a fund worth USD $433 million, as it expands outside of Indonesia into neighbouring countries, such as Vietnam. The year so far has exceeded expectations, and the rest of 2022 will likely be highly successful. With four unicorns already created with its help, CARRO, Ajaib, Kopi Kenangan, and FinAccel, Alpha JWC Ventures seeks to bring other startups to the big leagues.
500 Southeast Asia
As the ASEAN-centric arm of 500 Startups, this VC, formerly 500 Durians, focuses on projects in Southeast Asia. So far, 500 Southeast Asia has funded over 250 startups on their journey, including five unicorns, Grab, Carousell, Bukalapak, Carsome and Prenetics. Regionally, it has backed 15 companies that have crossed the $100 million USD valuation, including Indonesian startups FinAccel, Stockbit and RedDoorz.
With a global network of successful entrepreneurs and strategists, 500 Southeast Asia has the capability of bringing firms to higher levels in almost every industry sector. One of its latest investments was in a social commerce startup called Mapan. The VC firm was one of the backers of this group purchasing platform, helping it secure USD $15 million in Series A funding in November 2021.
In June 2022, Sequoia Capital announced its first Southeast Asia fund with a capital value of $850 million USD. This fund’s size indicates that Sequoia sees the region as an area for tremendous growth and return on investment potential, despite the ongoing battle against COVID and the impact of the Ukraine-Russia conflict.
With a portfolio including Indonesian startups such as Kopi Kenangan, GudangAda and Ula, the VC firm is still committed to working with companies in the region despite the recent issues with one of its financed companies, Zilingo. Sequoia Capital has restructured its business model from a 10-year fund to an open-ended one. It also recently appointed PayPal’s former CFO Roelof Botha as the senior steward, signalling its commitment to growth in Southeast Asia and globally.
Insignia Ventures Partner
With seven Indonesian fintech companies on its books, including unicorn Ajaib, who recently launched its crypto sector using the Bored Ape NFT as its mascot, and consumer payment platform Flip, which recently raised USD $55 million in Series B funding led by Tencent, Insignia Ventures Partner are already backing some of the biggest names in the sector.
It has also recently funded the social commerce platform Super, contributed to the USD $65 million recently raised by logistics startup Shipper and led seed round funding for textile trading platform Wifkain.
Golden Gate Ventures
Another venture capital firm from the region with an eye for investing in unicorns from Indonesia is Silicon Valley-based Golden Gate Ventures. On its books are some of the country’s biggest companies, such as NinjaVan, Carro and Carousell, while it has also played a part in the exit of Mapan and carpooling company Teman Jalan.
As part of the Funding Societies group, it recently acquired CardUp, a payment solutions provider operating in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and India. In May 2022, the company announced its first Entrepreneur in Residence and re-focussed its efforts for funding the next generation of Southeast Asian startups.
The top VCs in Indonesia receive support from demonstrating through a continued commitment to funding projects in the region that the startup ecosystem in Southeast Asia remains robust, despite the setbacks of a global pandemic and a war. The VCs in Indonesia recognise that there are many great opportunities for investment in this highly-populous country and are making savvy choices as they work towards minting more unicorns for the region.