Indonesian Startups Radar
I’m on my more or less anual visit to Indonesia, where I grew up. Indonesia’s social media and tech scene has been rapidly developing these past few years. Indonesians have been particularly eager to adopt social networking sites and smart phones, making them the third largest group of users on facebook. But twitter is huge, too, with several prominent twitterers well over the 1 million follower mark, and recently a shooting startup called koprol, a location service successfully sold to yahoo.
Beyond the big players, Indonesia with its 238 million people is a large audience and more startups catering specifically to local needs have sprung up in the past.
Startuplokal and Sparxup Award
Browsing through the sites, I handpicked some recently launched services which particularly caught my eye.
This platform allows members to choose a virtual greeting card, personalize it and send it to someone directly via twitter, facebook or email. Members can also upload their own card designs. The idea may not exactly be new, but the way it seamlessly connects to your friends’ profiles is nice, the branding concept is well executed, and it’s simple to navigate and use.
Culture factor: sending greeting cards/sms/mails on all kinds of formal and informal purposes like weddings or religious holidays or for fun or flirts I believe is much more common here than in Europe, at least as far as I can tell.
A retail site for fashion. Yaawwn. The cool factor about it is that this platform represents small, indonesian made high-end fashion brands by local designers only.
Culture factor: Indonesian fashion designers are struggling to compete against the dominance of foreign luxury brands. That they now join forces to market themselves together is a smart move.
Sedapur (roughly translating as “in one kitchen”) is a marketplace for homemade treats. Members can open a shop to promote and sell their homecooking, food lovers can order and eat their favorite munchies.
Culture factor: Cooking and baking and selling these products in the neighborhood is a common form of extra income for women in Indonesia. The number of hyper-local snacks is huge, and people bring local snacks as gifts from one city to the other. What if you could order your favorite type of Dendeng Balado anytime instead of waiting for aunt XYZ to visit..?
bouncity is a check-in-and-get-rewards type of platform. However, bouncity works only with a few select partners, (which makes it more like groupon, I guess) say, with some specific outlets of the forzen yogurt chain Sour Sally and a gamification aspect involving actual challenges like solving a quiz or taking a picture of something before you get the reward (like a free desert or an extra topping). The aim is to engage the customers on location in a fun way.
Culture factor: I think this concept could exist anywhere. In fact, does it already exist elsewhere? I think people would go to great lengths just about everywhere to get a freebie. If it involves doing something silly, like singing in a frozen yogurt shop, this could get pretty spectacular and perhaps even a little viral. And teens love to challenge each other to do embarassing things in public, at least we used to.
With BisTip, travelers can signal they’re willing to transport a 3rd person’s parcel to their destination. travelers can type in their travel route and date, senders can search for specific routes and contact the traveler. In a way, it’s a little bit like Mitfahrgelegenheit.de – except not with co-travelers but stuff.
Culture factor: in a country where the post service is unreliable and expensive, “nitip” (to ask someone to take a parcel along on whichever route) is a widespread practice. Also, I imagine this service is interesting because it allows international routes. Ordering from outside Indonesia is tedious and unreliable, a human transport (only legal stuff of course!) seems like a great idea. How would one ensure only legal stuff is being transported though? I wonder if smuggling issues could become a serious problem.
6. Jelajah (Alpha)
Jelajah does not yet show much more than this landing page. I’m still mentioning it because I find the idea bold and wonder how they will pull it off. So the idea is to – wait for it – crowdfund your travel. This is a travel community (share trips, find travel partners) but the main idea is to get your trip funded by “making it valuable”, either by offering rewards to your sponsors or acting as a tour guide. Number one sounds interesting. What might that be? Bungee jumping off a bridge in Kalimantan wearing a Gudang Garam Shirt? Or bringing home a bag of sand from Belitung for family and friends? I truly wonder if a kickstarter principle will work to fund trips. The second option seems more achievable: offer trips in which the offeree acts as guide and gets payed for by the other travelers. Extremely individualized, guided trips to remote places could have its charms.