Seeing the participants of this year’s ‘Startup Hunt’ – a competition for aspiring tech entrepreneurs who are part of digital industry mega event ID Byte 2015 – Shinta Dhanuwardoyo talks about the rising trends in Indonesia’s tech scene.
“There is a strong hike in fintech companies,” says the CEO and Founder of Bubu.com, which was always believed to be the pioneer of Internet growth in Indonesia.
“Compared to two years ago, when everyone seemed to be doing e-commerce, there is more variety this year. There are startups who work on using GPS to find things, which I feel, there are already too many of. Then there are also more niche ones, like this company that produces apps to download clothing patterns,” she continues.
But fintech seems to be the hottest trend at the moment. She predicts that the trend was pushed by strong demand from the public, who are in need of reliable tools for all kinds of financial services. She mentions notable participants that include Verifund, an app that helps vendors verify payment via bank transfer and Pinjam.co.id, an online pawn shop with a pick-up service to provide anonymity for customers.
Despite this rising trend, Dhanuwardoyo believes that no matter what the trend is, everything falls under the category of e-commerce.
“This is particularly because of the transaction factor at the end of it,” she says, further elaborating on Connected e-Conomy, the main theme of this year’s conference. “It begins with Things, which is the screen in a gadget. Then here comes Data and Connection. The circle is complete once transactions have happened,” she adds.
Urgently needed: Skilled developers as mentors
When asked what is the most urgent challenge in Indonesian tech startup scene, her answer is firm. “Human resources,” she says.
Indonesian tech startups are having difficulty in competing internationally because there is a need for skilled developers, and an even greater need for them to work in Indonesia.
“Many of our developers are not as skillful as those in neighbouring countries, making it hard for our companies to leapfrog into their level … We need senior developers to help Indonesian companies compete in international market,” she adds.
This is another reason why there is a new tendency for talent to gather in cities outside of Jakarta, particularly Jogjakarta. Developers want to work in a city where they feel comfortable, without too many pressures from commuting or pollution. This pushed many major companies to set up engineering offices in the city.
“It all comes down to economies of scale. The developers are there, so the companies are going there for them … They are happy living in Jogjakarta, and they do not want to be taken out of there,” she concludes.