Plug and Play, Gan Kapital join forces to launch Plug and Play Indonesia
By Masyitha Baziad November 17, 2016
- The focus in Indonesia will be on fintech and mobility
- Plug and Play will provide a bridge between big corporates and startups
SILICON-Valley based startup accelerator, Plug and Play Tech Centre has joined forces with Indonesian investment firm Gan Kapital to open Plug and Play Indonesia.
The venture was born out of the executive push by Indonesian President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo and seeks to leverage on the growth in the tech sector as well as exploit Indonesia’s huge market potential.
In February this year, Jokowi visited the Plug and Play Tech Centre in Silicon Valley as part of several digital economy diplomacy visits. In his speech at the accelerator’s headquarters, Jokowi explained Indonesia’s digital economy and his vision to produce 1,000 technopreneurs by the end of 2020.
“I really hope to see concrete projects and programmes from Plug and Play in Indonesia” Jokowi said in his speech back then.
Following this invitation, Plug and Play Tech Centre founder and chief executive officer Saeed Amidi, told the press in Jakarta that by opening its Indonesia operations, the accelerator wants to contribute at least 20% to Jokowi’s mission to create 1,000 startups.
The accelerator reviews approximately 4,000 startups every year and has invested in more than 100 startup companies. It now wants to bring its industry-specific accelerator programme to Indonesia.
“To start, we would like to focus on two sectors, financial technology (fintech) and mobility, simply because there is a need for financial inclusion in the country and Indonesia is a very mobile-centric country,” Amidi said. [Sentence edited for accuracy.]
Plug and Play will utilise its corporate innovation platform as a bridge between large companies and startups to make innovation work. It has already attracted three local giants including automotive conglomerate Astra International, and two state-owned enterprises, namely, Bank Negara Indonesia (BNI), and Bank Tabungan Negara (BTN).
The corporate innovation programme is 12-weeks long with about 25 to 30 startups pitching and working on their ideas in a specific sector. The Indonesian companies focused on mobility and fintech.
“We feel that entrepreneurs need a short channel to Astra, BNI, and BTN to present their technology and ideas and be embraced by the big corporations. We really hope to bridge the gap in the automotive and banking sectors while creating connectivity for the first phase,” he told Digital News Asia (DNA).
He added that Plug and Play Indonesia will start its programme between January and February, and is looking to attract around 200 to 300 ideas.
“Our objective is to first choose a minimum of 10 companies to invest in, but it is possible to do 20 companies as well for the first batch which will be in the first half of next year,” he explained.
Amidi said that in Japan the accelerator has attracted 32 corporate partners, and there are 20 corporate partners in Germany. He is optimistic that Plug and Play Indonesia can attract at least 10 corporate partners by the end of 2017.
When asked about the challenges in bridging corporations and startups, Amidi said it is all about mindset, changing the habit of working in silos and opening up to innovation.
“These companies and corporations are very powerful so they think that they should control everything and have exclusivity. However this mindset may have to change if they want to embrace flexibility and innovation,” he said.
Earlier in May, Plug and Play, Daimler AG, the University of Stuttgart, ARENA20136 and a few other local companies and venture capital firms held Startup Autobahn, an accelerator scheme for innovation in the automotive industry.
Amidi was candid, saying that at first Daimler AG with its dominant Mercedes-AMG brand was not open to having an event with other automotive companies, as they were the main partner. However they eventually ended up inviting other brands like Porsche, Volkswagen, and BMW.
“We believe that if we want to foster and support open innovation, we need to set the perspective from the entrepreneur’s mindset and put aside the old exclusive corporate mindset. I believe we can also bring this change here to Indonesia,” he added.
Meanwhile Wesley Harjono, managing director of financial services and IT at Gan Kapital said that they are targeting to invest in 50 companies by the end of 2017, with each company getting an investment of between US$50,000 – US$100,000.