Indonesian startup Ajaib opens up investment opportunities for millennials

Softbank is on board.

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Indonesian startup Ajaib opens up investment opportunities for millennials

Ajaib is an online investment platform that launched earlier this month. It offers easy access to investment opportunities for Indonesians, specifically targeting younger people.

The team behind Ajaib recognises that personal investments are essential for financial stability, and have the broader impact of contributing to a country’s economic growth. They also realise that many Indonesians are not aware of the importance of making investments early in adulthood.

“We feel that it’s time for the middle class in Indonesia to start thinking about investing and the products in the market are not serving that need yet,” CMO and co-founder Yada Piyajomkwan told KrASIA.

According to data compiled by the Indonesian Central Securities Depository (KSEI), the number of Indonesian capital market investors reached 1.61 million in December 2018, accounting for a mere 0.6% of the total population. However, young people aged between 21 and 30 represent 39.72% of all capital market investors.

“I always wanted to invest but didn’t have the time to follow market changes. Apparently, this is a common problem that is also experienced by many of my friends. Therefore, Ajaib is created to be an easy and smart solution for personal investment,” says CEO and co-founder Anderson Sumarli.

Ajaib’s two founders share a background in financial consulting and analysis. Sumarli is from Indonesia and used to be a data expert at IBM. Piyajomkwan hails from Thailand and was a consultant at McKinsey. After entering Y Combinator’s startup incubation programme in 2018, they collaborated to establish Ajaib.

The company offers mutual fund investment products that cover stocks, fixed income, and money markets. Ajaib’s investment vehicles ostensibly carry lower risk, and are more suited for beginner investors who generally have limited time, funds, and investment knowledge. The platform offers investment advice, and allows users to invest and make adjustments to their contributions via Ajaib’s mobile application.

Ajaib claims that it combines financial experts with technology-enabled analysis to determine the best investment strategies for its users. The platform has been registered with Indonesia’s Financial Services Authority (OJK), and partners with a number of banks and fund managers who specialise in mutual funds.

Mutual funds are among the most popular investment options in Indonesia. Before Ajaib came on the scene, there were already online investment platforms in the country. For example, Bareksa was founded in 2013 and managed to obtain a license from OJK; it currently offers 154 mutual funds. Since its launch, Bareksa has seen positive growth, and it has collaborated with a number of banks, as well as fintech and e-commerce platforms like Doku, Mandiri e-Cash, Bukalapak, and Tokopedia.

Another player to watch is Tanamduit, which assists users in planning, executing and monitoring their mutual fund investments. In September 2018, Tanamduit raised US$3 million in seed funding from local venture capital firm RND Capital, and claimed to have drawn in more than IDR 20 billion (US$134 million) from 8,000 registered users. Not long after, Tanamduit partnered with Bukalapak to diversify the e-commerce company’s mutual fund platform, BukaReksa. Both of Indonesia’s e-commerce unicorns—Tokopedia and Bukalapak—have branched out to offer financial service areas recently.

Softbank’s Involvement with Ajaib—and in Indonesia

Ajaib has already attracted a handful of major investors. Earlier this month, the company announced that it had raised US$2.1 million in a seed funding round co-led by SoftBank Ventures, Y Combinator, Alpha JWC, and Insignia Ventures.

Being able to lean on those investors’ accumulative experience is crucial for Ajaib. “SoftBank Ventures has been helpful in advising us about our business model based on their knowledge about Indonesia through their investments. Our fundraising process was great—Y Combinator helped us a lot along the way,” Piyajomkwan said.

Ajaib is Softbank Ventures’ latest investment in Indonesia. Previously, Softbank Ventures had invested in digital health startup Alodokter, fintech startup Moka, and co-working space EV Hive. At the end of 2018, the firm also made major investments in Southeast Asian unicorns—US$1 billion went to Tokopedia, and Grab received US$1.5 billion.

According to the company’s website, Softbank has over $1.1 billion in assets under management and has invested in over 250 companies across ten countries. The firm’s primary investment candidates are early- to growth-stage startups in the information and communication technology sectors, including artificial intelligence, the internet of things, and robotics.

Ajaib will put its funding toward improving its platform. “We want to build an investment solution that best suits customers’ needs. Our customers have been our greatest mentor and champions giving us very valuable feedback to keep improving our product,” Piyajomkwan concluded.

Editors: Nadine Freischlad and Brady Ng