Remember when we were little and our greatest ambition was to be in Santa Claus’ list of good kids?
This year e27 is going to play Santa Claus by looking back at all the news we have published this year, and find out which companies and institutions that have been in their best behaviour —and which ones deserve to have their Christmas presents postponed until next year.
We acknowledge achievements, victories, and good deeds on our Good List, while controversies, scandal, and mischief find their home in their Bad List. The parties included in this list range from startups, major corporations, and even a certain minister.
Take a sit and get a cup of hot chocolate ready.
The Good Kid List
Despite having had to lay-off “hundreds” of its employees in September, SaleStock managed to turn things around by securing top positions in Jobplanet’s list of best startups to work for, a list that was once dominated by Tokopedia. The list was made based on factors such as salary, career path, and work-life balance; considering the fact that SaleStock had just been launched to the public in 2015, the startup’s rise to fame seemed to continue to impress jobseekers.
Indonesian high school kids in NASA’s Atlas 5 project
A group of high school students from the remote village of Laguboti, North Sumatra, followed by a joint group of students from various cities in Indonesia, collaborated with NASA on a mission to send rice and yeast to the International Space Station in early 2016. The experiment aims to research how crops such as rice and yeast grow in zero gravity condition, and the students presented their research in the Annual Conference of the American Society for Gravitational and Space Research. Sigh. Kids these days.
Is there anything that Go-Jek did not achieve in 2016? From growing its services, acquiring India-based startups, fostering partnerships with top brands, to finally securing unicorn status with its latest US$550 million funding, the year 2016 belongs to Go-Jek. Even more impressive considering how the company had only begun to rise into fame in mid-2015 when it introduced its Idul Fitri promo.
Taxi companies in Indonesia
An unlikely figure in a list that is supposedly dedicated for startup communities. Yes, but we believe that conventional taxi companies such as Blue Bird and Express Group deserve credit for finally embracing innovation and making peace with its archnemesis, the ride-hailing startups. The process has not been easy, but this has given us hope that world peace is indeed possible.
After Jakarta, Qlue is set to keep government officials accountable in more Indonesian cities as it announced its national expansion in May. The startup also raised a “more than” US$1 million Series A funding round in the same month. Not everybody is happy with this though, as the startup has been facing rejection in several neighbourhood in Jakarta, but what is a disruption without a few ruffled feathers?
Also Read: Startup funding in 2017: A different game?
As Indonesian digital industry grows, we began to see major conglomerates in the country jumping into the bandwagon by investing in startups or even launching their own e-commerce platforms. But Lippo Group took our attention with its launch of both B2C and B2B e-commerce platforms (plus mind-blowing investment into one of the companies), and an investment to Southeast Asian ride-hailing giant Grab.
The angel investor that we would like to highlight in this list is Budi Setiadharma, which had invested in several early stage startups such as KerjaDulu, Qlapa, Jurnal, Squline, Qlue, and Minutes, both on personal capacity and through his investment company Prasetia Dwidharma. Setiadharma himself is widely known as chairman of leading automaker Astra International.
BB Merah Putih
While the world is laughing at the downfall of BlackBerry (which Geektime argued is not happening anytime soon), the more patriotic Indonesians might rejoice the fact that a joint venture by BlackBerry and local phone manufacturer Tiphone is now a proud owner of Blackberry software and services licence as well as hardware manufacturing rights in Indonesia. Many were sceptical, but considering the fact that Indonesian media mogul Emtek Group is now the owner of BBM brand, IP, and technology licensing rights, Blackberry does feel at home in the country.
Not only that it managed to raise one of the biggest disclosed Series A round in Indonesia this year, HaloDoc is also one of the first companies that Go-Jek had announced an investment in. We guess being dubbed by the President as one of the startups that will drive Indonesia’s Digital Energy of Asia ambition is not so bad after all.
2016 almost ended badly for YesBoss, with the company announcing the indefinite hiatus of its virtual concierge service starting from October 31. But before the ship sank even deeper, in a relatively short time YesBoss turned the table by pivoting into the B2B sector with the launch of Kata.ai. The company also brought along leading cyber security and NLP expert Jim Geovedi as Technology Advisor for the project.
The Bad Kid List
The only company who managed to get its name in both list. Glorious success aside, Go-Jek had also dealt with plenty of scandals this year. From the seemingly endless ride-hailing drama with the government, driver partner strike, recruitment video controversy, having its co-founder and senior executive leaving the company, and even having their office in Kemang being shot by an unknown man. Phew.
Another global e-commerce platform which had to admit defeat to the strengths of local players in the Indonesian market. The company plans to “move inwards” by pushing resources into its strong markets of Japan and Taiwan, as well as bolstering major investments.
Initially founded to support the blossoming e-commerce ecosystem by introducing it to a greater audience, the Indonesian answer to Single’s Day and Black Friday have been receiving tough criticism from netizens due to abundance of fake discounts and promos during the day. There is even ongoing debate on the relevance of HARBOLNAS, to the point where the public is questioning the urgency to continue the event next year.
Baca raised an “at least” US$20 million Series B round from Bertelsmann Asia Investment (BAI), Crystal Stream, and CC Zhuang in late July, but the supposedly happy news turned bitter when DailySocial wrote about the use pornographic materials in the startup’s advertisements. Google ended up taking down Baca’s app from the Play Store, and tough the startup had apologised for the controversy, the scandal will be remembered as one of the spiciest in 2016.
Wati, you’ve been a bad, bad girl. Always at the forefront of the latest gossips, scandals, and (occasionally) insights from Indonesian startup scene. However, we just cannot help to look forward to updates from this mysterious Twitter handle, so perhaps we will forgive her behaviour this year. And looking forward to more scandals next year.
Image Credit: bowie15 / 123RF Stock Photo