Solutions for social issues in an emerging economy: Early Stage

From financial services for the unbanked to new IoT solutions for the poultry industry, these Indonesian startups provide new technologies to solve some of the nation’s problems.

With a population of more than 260 million, Indonesia is the largest Southeast Asian market. Despite improvements to the quality of life in recent years, it has a myriad of problems, including a lack of financial inclusion, uneven access to health and educational services, inefficient food supply chains, and lackluster agricultural development.

Earlier in the month, the startup competition Seedstars made a stop in Jakarta, inviting Indonesia’s startups to pitch their businesses before a jury panel. The event attracted interest from over 20 startups, offering the winner the chance to join a three-month growth program and the Global Seedstars Summit in Switzerland in April 2020, as well as USD 500,000 in equity investment. The top eight startups will be able to join Seedstars’ Investment Readiness Program.

In this week’s “Early Stage,” KrASIA takes a look at four startups from the top eight that were at Seedstars Jakarta.

Duithape was chosen as the “Best Startup in Jakarta” at Seedstars Jakarta. The company created a financial services platform for the unbanked. Citing research that was backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, it says that 76% of Indonesia’s adults—or more than 130 million people in the country—do not have bank accounts, and this is the pool of clients Duithape wants to serve.

To fill the gap in Indonesia’s financial system, Duithape sets itself up as a bridge for the government, financial institutions, and unbanked individuals. It is registered under Bank Indonesia and holds an e-money license from Indonesia’s state lender Bank BNI. Right now, Duithape has more than 90,000 agents nationwide.

It offers B2B and B2C services, including cashless aid distribution from government or international development programs, business payment solutions, micro loans, and insurance packages. And the company successfully conducted an LPG subsidy pilot program with the government, reaching 5,000 families between December 2018 and May 2019.

The company’s source of revenue is transaction fees, which run up to USD 0.20 per transaction. There are also signup fees for loans and insurance.

Currently, Duithape has more than 25 million unbanked users. The company handles 900 million transactions per year and books an annual revenue of USD 93 million. For its business payment solutions, the company has partnered with more than 300,000 stores, helping distributors collect cashless payments from retailers.

Duithape received several awards in 2018. The company was the winner of the UNCDF Microenterprise Fintech Challenge, runner-up of Startcon’s Pitch for $1 Million competition, and runner-up of the Indonesia – Japan Innovation Meetup.

Titik Pintar is positioning itself as a fun learning application for kids—in particular students in primary school—who are accustomed to playing mobile games. The platform provides 15 minutes of free access so its young users can try out interactive quizzes. It then offers a premium subscription to get unlimited access to its content, which is designed to hone skills and knowledge under the elementary school curriculum in Bahasa Indonesian and English.

Horé! is an on-demand staffing platform that connects job seekers and employees. More than 100 employers use the website, and over 1,000 staff in the hospitality industry—including the food and beverage sector, housekeeping, and administration—offer their services on the platform. Each member has a profile that provides detailed ratings and reviews, giving businesses the chance to select the best matches for their personnel requirements. At the moment, Horé! is still a browser-based platform, but will be launched as an app for iOS and Android in the near future.

Smart Kandang (“Smart Cage” in English) is an Internet-of-Things (IoT) solutions provider for the poultry farm business. Specifically, it helps chicken farms set up a system that converts their greenhouse gas emissions into energy. By implementing its IoT system, a farm can earn more revenue and boost cost efficiency. The company also provides a livestock management system that helps breeders organize cage space, generating data about their chickens’ weight, feed quantities, and the air temperature in the cages.

“Early Stage” is a series where the writers of KrASIA highlight startups that caught our eye for the week, whether they achieved an important milestone, rolled out a truly innovative product, or became embroiled in controversy.