Shortly after launching its new SmartCities app, public service monitoring platform Qlue today announced that it has received a Series A round from angel investor Arya Setiadharma through his angel investment firm Prasetia Dwidharma, as well as project management and financial consultant firm Juvisk.
In an e-mail to e27, Qlue CEO Rama Raditya did not disclose the exact number of the funding, but he claimed that it is amounting to “more than US$1 million”, putting the company’s valuation at around US$8 million.
“We will have our guys focus on building products and growth while Juvisk will handle our back office [matters] such as financials, taxes and legals … With their large network to government and industries, we are now penetrating into 30 cities and hopefully we will have good news soon out of that,” he explained.
Qlue plans to use the new funding to focus on product development, talent acquisition, and scalability.
“We also like to focus on hiring engineers, security engineers, and analysts to ensure our system is always running smoothly … We [also] just sealed the deal with a telco union here in Indonesia (ATSI) which will help us gain users and merchants via their services. So the scaling part will only get faster,” Raditya further explained.
When asked about what drew Setiadharma to invest in the company, Raditya thinks it goes beyond the company’s vision and business model.
“He believes that Qlue can work in country like Indonesia because I remember that he said, ‘I believe this app can scale to majority of the people here in Indonesia, because we all love to complain.’ That’s basically what Qlue is, we are organising your complaints, connecting them to the needed stakeholders, and ensure it gets acknowledged,” Raditya wrote.
As a platform for citizens to file complaints to public officials, where users can also monitor how the complaints are being followed up, Qlue is an example of how startups can work together with government to reach a common goal of building SmartNation.
“I see that startups nowadays are avoiding government-related solutions because –one of the main reasons– they know VCs will [close] doors from them, as they won’t be as appealing to invest in. I see it differently. I see that government can push us to many directions that we want,” Raditya wrote.
In dealing with such notion, Raditya stressed the importance for startups to be both flexible and resilient.
“So when a friend, teacher, VCs, partners or any other people tell you that you can’t do [a certain] business model as it won’t be sustainable for your business … Try to adjust their advice and make it your own, because you are the one who understand your product most,” he advised.