In an interview with e27, CFO of AnakMuda Fendy Wijaya tells us about the problem with Indonesian youth.
Many of them are doing interesting projects with strong social impact, but lack of access and exposure might make the project difficult to sustain.
“There is this young man in East Nusa Tenggara who gives English lessons to kids in poor families in exchange for plastic bottle to get recycled … If these projects are not getting the attention it deserves, these youths will end up not being able to continue them. Then they’ll quit,” he says.
Meanwhile, in Jakarta, Aryo Moedanton was handling several student exchange projects with the Ministry of Youth and Sports when he learnt that the Ministry did not keep what he believes as a proper record on Indonesian youth and their activities, compared to the standard applied in countries such as Singapore or Philippines. Even worse, he also found out that data for past exchange programme participants are still being kept manually on paper.
These concerns led the two young men, together with friend Prasetyo Nugraha Gema, to start AnakMuda.net in August 2014 as a one-stop collaboration and shareconomy platform for youth empowerment.
The platform combines LinkedIn-like profiles of individuals and organisations, a directory of organisations and businesses classified by topic, a ‘scrapbook’ where users can throw out an idea for a project and have it commented on and discussed by others, and even a crowdfunding platform for youth to fund their social projects.
“Many people said that we do not seem to have a focus. But our aim is to become like a Wizard to install a software — a platform that enables all these projects to happen,” explains Moedanton, now the CEO of the startup.
In December 2015, the startup won the Young Entrepreneur for Sustainable Development award at the ASEAN+3 Young Entrepreneur Forum (AYEF) in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Media coverage of AnakMuda’s winning moment led the public to rush into the beta version their site, causing it to crash.
“We don’t want to disappoint anyone. So we [took] it down, and we are going to relaunch it this February,” Wijaya states.
AnakMuda is currently being run by a team of 10, many of whom are working full-time in big companies.
“We encouraged them to stay in those companies. Who knows what new knowledge or network they can introduce us to!” says Wijaya, who had done several projects with Convergence Ventures, where he helped analyse investment theses.
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To run its business, AnakMuda fosters partnerships with several other startups and non-government organisations.
Indonesian crowdfunding platform KitaBisa helps the startup manage its crowdfunding projects, while AnakMuda is currently in talk with Jobstreet and JobsDB to help them filter job candidates in their own unique way.
“Jobstreet and JobsDB have to search through thousands of candidates for each vacancy every day. We make it easier by forwarding profiles of users who had been proven to have active participation in our platform. Be it updating their profiles, submitting ideas in the Scrapbook,” says Moedanton.
“Because it’s hard to tell about a candidate based only on their CVs. We also have to know how passionate they are in making changes,” he adds, also adding that users can get points for every activity in the platform.
The startup claims that, while it was at AYEF, it received offers to expand their business to Southeast Asia.
“But we chose to focus on fixing our operations first. Prasetyo [Nugraha Gema, CTO] here hasn’t sleep for days! Our target is to have the site ready by February, then the mobile app by August,” says Wijaya, though he later adds that the expansion might happen some time in 2018.
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Seizing the momentum
Though it has decided to lay low by temporarily taking down its site before relaunching it, AnakMuda knows that it has no time to waste.
“ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is coming. We can delay until next year or even the next year, to wait until we have lots of money. But the momentum will be gone. The AEC will be running and our users will lose [the] opportunity to showcase their projects,” Wijaya explains.
The team states that they are currently looking for investors.
“But we are looking for someone who will offer us more than just money … There are many conglomerates out there with deep pockets, but they might not understand digital [business] or have passion for sociopreneurship,” Moedanton explains.
“We try to make sure that Aryo here would still be able to maintain his idealism, and Prasetyo tinkers with our platform, while I’m holding the wallet closely,” Wijaya closes.
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Image Credit: AnakMuda