This month marks my 2 years tenure in Amartha. After almost decade of experience in telco industry and straight outta Manchester Business School Innovation studies, in late September 2017 i jumped headfirst into fintech startup world. It was challenging and exciting ride with constant learning every single day of the week.
One of my key learning from leading Amartha’s Business Development team is how to design loan product. Amartha core business is micro-loan for rural women and as bizdev, my task is to explore new loan product opportunities. In this post, i will brain dump my learning in developing loan product for micro-business segment.
Quick recap on attending what probably the biggest tech and startup conference in South East Asia. I only attend day 2 hence this might be short. Hopefully still useful.
Xendit on Running Experimentation and Hiring Practices
Moses Lo and Tessa Wijaya from Xendit shares their experience scaling startup beyond series A. Xendit itself is a payment gateway, enabling apps or website to do everything related to payments.
First interesting insight from them is their dead simple guidelines on running experimentation : 3 months, 7% growth per week. Any experimental product which consistently passing those bar will get invested more. Below the bar, project will be scraped. Nothing happened to the team, they will be assigned for something else. Any point of time, Xendit will have 3 or 4 “business as usual + 1” experiments , new product which adjacent to their current offering.
This is a good innovation practice by nurturing exploration while still budget conscious. Moses learned this from his time in Y Combinator.
Second one is their hiring practice to do trial day. Candidates applying for Xendit will have to spend one day to work with the team as part of their hiring assessment. By doing this both the team and candidates can sense whether they can fit together or not. Since interview is a bad predictor of performance, Trial Day help Xendit avoids bad hiring by test the candidates on real working condition.
OVO on Solving Problems Using Fintech
On main stage, Jason Thompson from OVO delivered quo vadis speech on where the fintech is going. It was the best presentation ive seen on Day 2. Jason gave insightful and humble presentation on OVO’s journey so far.
Three key points from Jason’s speech.
First, OVO achieved 10x growth due to strategic partnership with Grab and Tokopedia. Grab Bike & Grab Car contribute high frequency of transactions while Tokopedia drives the value of the transactions. On top of that, OVO itself boost ubiquity and reason to use by having presence in almost every shopping mall in Indonesia.
Second, answering on the skepticism on cash-back, the growth of OVO has been healthy. This is due to the growth in both users and value, is followed by growth in stored value fund. Seems like users are more comfortable to left their money in OVO balance.
Third, OVO aimed to expand beyond wallet into other financial services. Investment will be their first expansion, powered by Bareksa acquisition. Jason spent quite a time emphasizing how big investment opportunities in Indonesia while investment in adoption is still very low compared to the region.
Lending and insurance will be next. OVO transaction data will be leveraged to make their financial services attractive for each users ( e.g credit scoring for cheaper lending and insurance).
And yes, Jason also confirm OVO status as the fifth unicorn in the country.
Tokopedia on Their Next 10 Years
William Tanuwijaya interview was probably the most sought-out session in Day 2 of the conference. Main stage area was jam-packed with people, i could barely saw the stage.
Guided by Willis Wee of Techinasia himself, William talk about a decade of Tokopedia journey, key decisions thats important for growth of Tokped and also his personal growth as a founder CEO.
Three important takeaways for me.
First, asked about early decisions that has been pivotal for Tokped foundation, Willliam answer was the decision to not blindly copy global ecommerce promotion day (e.g 11.11 in China, Black Friday). Relying on big-bang promotion day to boost sales is not only unsustainable, but also many of these promotion day is out of context for Indonesian hence it doesnt bring good result. Tokopedia choose to pick promotion day on the last week before lebaran. Smart move considering most office workers already got their THR bonuses during this time. This is also a subtle jab for Bukalapak which make promotion day every single month (1.1, 2.2 and so on).
Second is about their Super Ecosystem strategy. Tokped is exploring many new things such as financial services, selling tickets and bill payment. However, William emphasized that Tokopedia will prefer collaborate with aligned partners rather than building their own. Different path from what Amazon is going where they start to develop many in-house verticals. Hence Tokped platform will be geared to be more open and William invites startups and other institutions to develop the ecosystem together.
Last and the most interesting one is his vision on Tokped next 10 years. Tokopedia next decade vision is to enable smalll business owners in rural Indonesia to have the same capabilities as national (or international) retailer. William cited that he wants store owner in Aceh can possibly make their business big without having to move to Jakarta to get better access to market. This could contribute into decentralization of economy of Indonesia and also reverse urbanization.
To realize this vision, Tokopedia will make most of their e-commerce capabilities as a services for this small business. For example, if a seller need logistic or warehousing capabilities to do overnight delivery, Tokopedia could provide it. This also goes for marketing, payment and other capabilities.
In their last impact report, Tokopedia claimed to contribute 1% of Indonesian economy. William aim to push this into 5% in the next decade.
LinkAja has officially grand-launched last June. It represents collective efforts of Indonesian BUMN (state-owned enterprise) to gain market share in emerging digital payment space. Clashing with the likes of Gojek, Grab-backed OVO and Alibaba-backed DANA.
Things are not starting smoothly for them. The grand launch has been delayed couple of times due to technical issues, experts doubts their agility to compete and they’ve slouched to 4th place below DANA. Even though a year ago, T-Cash was fighting head to head with OVO to gain 2nd place.
So whats the move going forward ? Heres my quick thoughts on how LinkAja can win
Gopay, Ovo and DANA all require smartphone to use. On the other hand, telco-based wallet such as T-Cash can be operated from dumb phones using USSD command. LinkAja can leverage this to offer more inclusive experience.
To process payments, user can just provide their mobile phone and approve payment via sms-delivered OTP. This could be beneficial to push LinkAja usage in rural areas where mobile internet coverage is spotty.
Digitizing Government Payments
In my experience, government payments are mostly in cash. From paying traffic fines, renewing your driver license or paying annual vehicle tax, LinkAja could be leveraged to make all of this cashless. Toll-road, Commuter Line and TransJakarta has been successfully converted to 100 percent cashless hence its not impossible to expand this into any sort of government payments.
For government institutions, cashless payments could make their payment processing more efficient and reduce fraud as well. This could be incentives for policy makers or public institution leaders to push LinkAja adoption in their organization. LinkAja could capitalize this putting registration and cash-in booth on every government institution that accept cash payment.
Leveraging Combined User Base
LinkAja is an evolution T-Cash. Telkomsel has 100 million existing user base. There also four state banks backing LinkAja up : Bank Mandiri, BNI, BRI and BTN. The four combined (also known as HIMBARA) represented almost 200 million accounts. Not to mention user contribution from Pertamina and Jiwasraya.
As i mentioned in my previous article, massive user base dont mean much if there are no clear benefits for Telkomsel or HIMBARA to use LinkAja over other wallet provider.
Good example of this is initiative to link integrate current account to LinkAja balance. Hence if you are one of HIMBARA bank users, you dont have to constantly top up, just link your account and LinkAja app could substitute your card as payment method.
Another ideas might be to use LinkAja as easier method to do peer to peer transfer. User can transfer money from any of HIMBARA bank to any mobile phone number since primary identifier for LinkAja (0r any other wallet) is mobile number.
Loyalty points is another angle that state owned enterprise could collaborate with LinkAja. Points from Telkomsel top-up, Pertamina petrol station, any payments from HIMBARA banks will be consolidated in LinkAja.
The key is to make the experience using LinkAja much much better for existing BUMN customer base compared to non-user. If its not, then LinkAja would not have advantage over other big 3 wallet provider no matter how many state enterprises backing them up.
In current Indonesian context, when somebody talk about fintech they mostly refer to lending. In DailySocial surveys, more than half of respondent associated fintech with online lending services with payment as a close second. Number of fintech funding activities also skewed toward this direction with 60% of total 14 deals in 2018 went to P2P lending startups. If you browse through fintech list in OJK website, only P2P lending are listed even though insurance and investment fintech falls under OJK supervision. There are currently 113 registered lending fintech as of June, far more than any other types of fintech combined.
Two things from this: Indonesian fintech growth so far still contributed by lending thus other financial services is underutilized. This leaves lots of room to grow for fintech ecosystem going forward. Second, with lending companies already reach hundreds, fintech players need to think hard what will be the next play.
So what could be the next phase for Indonesian fintech ? my take is on investing. Of all the financial services, it is the least inclusive with less than 1% registered investors in a 270 million population. Number of investors has been growing double digits for four years straight and most of the growth are contributed from younger segments.
In this article, i wrote overview on investing landscape in Indonesia, challenges and how this sector has big potential to drive further fintech growth going forward.
Yesterday, Facebook launched its own global currency called Libra. It is built on blockchain and it carries Facebook ambitious bet to redefine how money works in the internet (you can see it in this video). Theres lot of interesting aspects of Libra, from its underlying technology, the management model and privacey features. TechCrunch explain it beautifully in this 4000 words explainer.
My key takeaways from Facebook Libra are these :
Libra is crypto-based digital currency. It is a cryptocurrency hence decentralized, open and secure. However, unlike other cryptocurrency, it is blazingly fast (1000 TPS compared to 7 in Bitcoin and 15 in Ethereum) and financially stable due to the backings of real-money reserve. To use Libra, you will need Calibra, its digital wallet. You can cash-in, store, send and cash-out in Calibra similar to Paypal, Gopay, OVO and other digital wallet. However, Calibra will seamlessly handle multi-currency remittance, available around the world and integrated with FB Messenger and Whatsapp. Calibra itself is built by Facebook however since Libra is open infrastructure, in the future other companies might built other wallet apart from it.
Libra is mainly targeting unbanked population. In the intro video, Libra is designed to be fast in Lagos, simple in Manila and convenient to send money to Mexico City. To use Libra and Calibra, user only need feature phone, internet and any kind of government-issued identification. It doesnt require smartphone hence highly inclusive. Libra also claimed to utilize blockchain to drasticly reduce fees.
Libra is backed by lots of prominent organization. Apart from Facebook, Libra is supported by giants and whales of global institution. Visa, Mastercard, Paypal, Stripe are onboard. Theres also telco (Vodafone), venture capital (Andreesen-Horowits) and non-profits (Kiva and Mercy Corps). Full list of Libra backers can be read here.
This is an interesting slash scary things for fintech and crypto development going forward. If you work in wallet or digital money business, Facebook is eye-balling your lunch. Every penny that went into Calibra wallet is a penny less from other wallet. If youre in fintech focusing on unbanked, like me, this could be potential to do cashless financial service delivery. If you work in blockchain, Libra could be the key use case to bring the crypto to the masses. Global bitcoin users currently is 35 millions while Facebook itself has 2.3 billion userbase.
So considering this development, what can we do to anticipate? heres my initial thoughts :
This is series of study case analysis that i like to write from time to time. I am a big fan of Ben Thompson’s Stratechery and these essays are inspired by Ben’s work. Check out my last post on LinkAja.
On second week of April, Dealstreetasia broke the news that Indonesian payment wallet provider OVO has acquired online mutual fund startups, Bareksa, for 20 mio USD. This news came just merely a month after OVO acquisition of P2P Platform Taralite. Taralite acquisition has enabled OVO to offer credit-card-like Paylater which at the moment only available in Tokopedia. Bareksa on the other was used to power OVO Invest feature which can be accessed after user do advanced KYC by submitting their E-KTP.
As a country with massive unbanked population and asymmetric banking industry , Indonesia is a lucrative ground for fintech. These recent developments is a clear attempt to expand into wider financial services and having Lippo and Grab as their backer, OVO have ample warchest to start landgrab in multiple fronts.
In this essay, i will share my analysis on rationale, challenge and predictions on OVO next step in Indonesia financial industry.
This is series of study case analysis that i like to write from time to time. Check out my first post on Traveloka.
This week in fintech, state-owned e-wallet provider T-CASH announced that they will transform into LinkAja. Not only the name change, the new T-Cash will be backed not only by Telkom group but also six other state-owned enterprise (SOEs) : Bank Mandiri, BRI, BNI, BTN, Jiwasraya and Pertamina. The change will be implemented late February and current T-Cash users will only need to update their app once LinkAja launched.