Blogger and former Community Manager at TechinAsia, Joshua Kevin has decided to help startups in Indonesia, with his new venture, Bridge Inc, which will be based in Jakarta. The initiative is expected to be fully launched by the first quarter of 2014. The initiative would help startups in PR with its ThreeO project, help find young talent with Workforstartup and help in making pitches with Pitchinc.
Kevin was inspired by Paul Graham’s blog post about Y Combinator. The Bridge Inc founder, quoting Graham, says, “One of the most common types of advice we give at Y Combinator is to do things that don’t scale. Startups building things for other startups have a big pool of potential users.”
ThreeO: The need for PR
ThreeO, a PR firm, will focus largely on startups in the Indonesia market, and help them reach out to the right media. It will also help foreign startups looking to enter the local market, providing them media access; organise local events and opening up various touch points.
Workforstartup: Building a talent pool
Recognising that talent and team work remains a big issue for startups, Bridge Inc will use its project Workforstartup, to run campaigns, to attract students to work for startups. Kevin promises that the job vacancies and content of the website will be presented in an interesting manner. While, it would increase the talent pool, students will also get a taste of the startup world. It will consist of both job vacancies and contents in a more beautiful way.
Pitchinc: The need for investment
Bridge Inc also hopes to work closely with startups and help them with presentations and pitches for investments. A biannual launchpad event across cities in Indonesia, is expected to cut the conference part and focus on startup launches, startup founders and venture capitalists in order to attract investments into startups, especially outside Jakarta.
While ThreeO started operating yesterday, all other projects are expected to get rolling by first quarter of 2014. ThreeO claims that it already has three clients.
Kevin feels that there is much possibility that the three projects can be spun off into three different entities. Bridge Inc so far is bootstrapped and has received no external funding.
The founder does have plans to expand Bridge Inc into other “exciting and emerging countries”. He also hinted at a possibility of expanding it into another exciting and emerging countries, some time in the future.
“I think for the past several years I have been contributing to the development of Indonesia startup ecosystem by working for startups that are based outside Indonesia. Now, I want to help contribute to the ecosystem directly through this initiative. A lot of people, especially investors, have been saying that although Indonesia has tons of potential, the ecosystem isn’t ready yet. Then what should we do? We will help through this initiative; we will try to help grow the ecosystem faster so that we will see more success stories that will create a domino effect across the industry.”
Twenty one-year-old Kevin may come across as an inexperienced person, but Bridge Inc has advisers – Anton Soeharyo (Co-founder and CEO of TouchTen Games), Calvin Kizana (Co-founder of Elasitas & CEO of PicMix), Christian Sugiono (Co-founder & CEO of MalesBanget), Jason Lamuda (Co-founder of Groupon Indonesia & CEO of BerryBenka), and Grace Tahir (Mayapada) – to help him out.
Excluding advisors, the Bridge team has a total of four people. Kevin notes that he had started the company with capital from his savings, and they are trying to be “very lean”. As they grow, they will hire staffers from both within and beyond Indonesia.
Kevin was also working as community manager at KakaoTalk Indonesia where he was tasked to help KakaoTalk enter the Indonesia market through communities (events and FGDs) and mass marketing (TVC, Radio, and Movie Ads). He also had a stint at East Ventures, a venture capital fund based in Singapore, which has more than twenty startups in its portfolio.
As a project bridging startups to the media, talents and investors, Kevin also notes that curation is important. He says, “We try to choose our clients or projects very carefully as we are in the very early stage as a company.”
Challenges faced by Indonesian startups
As the founder of an Indonesian startup, what sort of challenges are there for Kevin? He says that there have been criticisms revolving around Indonesian startups not solving problems, or merely copying a concept presented in Silicon Valley.
“At the same time, I’d say that there are a lot of startups that are really product centric, so they don’t understand much except building and shipping things, especially on the marketing and business side,” says Kevin. “And this is very vital for a startup, because if you can’t generate revenue/money, how would you survive?”
With contributions from Elaine Huang