Plug and Play‘s journey in Indonesia began with President Joko Widodo’s visit to Silicon Valley in February 2016.

“While he was there, he visited the Plug and Play headquarter in Sunny Vale. Our CEO [Saeed Amidi] explained the work that we have done in other countries such as China, Europe, or Singapore, and the kind of ecosystem that we are trying to build,” explains Plug and Play Indonesia Community Manager Jessica Marthin.

“He was very enthusiastic,” she adds.

Fast forward to November 2016, Plug and Play was finally launched in the country, in partnership with local investment company Gan Kapital.

The accelerator programme hosted a demo day for the nine startups in first batch in September. It initially graduated 11 startups, but after several meetings with corporate partners, the two startups (which originated from Singapore) decided that they were not ready to expand to Indonesia yet.

The programme is currently opening application for its second batch, which set to be announce in December.

Also Read: How US-based accelerator Plug and Play is tackling the Southeast Asia ecosystem through partnerships

So what does the programme have to offer for startups? How will the second batch be different from the first one? How is their preparation to welcome the upcoming batch?

e27 visits the Plug and Play Indonesia coworking space to find out.


The lounge at Plug and Play Indonesia coworking space

The coworking space is located in a skyscraper in the central business district of Kuningan, South Jakarta. The space offers facilities such as two meeting rooms (that can be merged into one), two phone booths, and a main working area that can be converted into an event space.


The phone booths and the desks with a view

The area is able to host up to 30 desks.


The main area can be converted into an event space, and visitors can watch the actions from here

Prior to moving to its own space, Plug and Play was based in the coworking space chain Rework. Marthin explained that this new coworking space will be dedicated for startups in the second batch of the programme; it is the reason why the company does not advertise it in public.

“[Some of the startups from our first batch] already have their own office spaces; they would only need a coworking space for meetings or attending workshops. Some of them are also based in our partner coworking spaces,” she says.


Desks and lockers for the startups

Apart from the coworking space, some of the perks that startups in the programme can get including Amazon Web Services credits, logistics support (such as name card printing), and legal support (such as incorporating their company, if needed).

Plug and Play will also provide seed funding, completed with one-on-one mentoring and workshops.

Also Read: Some important things I learned interning at an accelerator in Vietnam

According to Marthin, one of the key strengths of the programme is its strong ties with corporate partners and links to regulators. It is currently partnering with Indonesian state-owned bank BNI, commercial bank BTN, local conglomerate Sinar Mas Group, and manufacturing giants Astra International.

“Hopefully, they will able to work with the corporate partners, whether as a client or as a user,” she explains.

Once their names are being announced, the startups’ logo will be inserted in the photo frames on the wall

She gave an example of Astronaut, a Singapore-based startup that aims to simplify job interview process by utilising video selfie. After meeting with Plug and Play’s corporate partners, they were able to learn that Indonesian companies often include psychological tests in their screening process, and that there is a demand for such feature on their platform.

Indonesia-based BusTiket and Sayurbox are also a good example of success stories. After a meeting with Triawan Munaf, head of creative economy agency BEKRAF, Sayurbox was able to speak at a conference hosted by the agency while BusTiket even received a grant from them.

“When we got them together, there is always an exchange of ideas and an action to be taken afterwards,” she stresses.

So what are the criteria that Plug and Play is looking for in a startup?

The criteria includes market size, product, competition, future plans, and the founders themselves.

“Business models are important but we believe it can be evolved; what we need is a strong team that can navigate wherever direction that business is going,” Marthin says.

In the near future, Plug and Play wants to focus more on onboarding more corporate partners, building its ecosystem, and educating industries on the concept of startup accelerator.

“We still have to begin meetings by explaining what an accelerator is, and why businesses have to go digital. It is a big task to do,” she closes.