In Indonesia, access to basic financial service such as saving and lending is a priviledge. The country with more than 250 million people has only less than 40 million recorded bank account according to World Bank. The country stands at the top of Asia Pacific in terms of unbanked population with three quarter of total population are still outside of conventional financial system.
At glance, these statistics looks bleak. But for entrepreneurs and startups, it means massive opportunity fintech. Indonesia is currently a fintech hotbed with more than 150 startups and record-high investment of USD 57 million in 42 deals by last year alone. Half of that deals went to lending and payment startups.
I work as a product and business development guy in a peer-to-peer lending startup. Our startup focus is to provide microlending to millions of unbanked and underbanked women entrepreneurs in Indonesia. In this post, i will share three challenges that i have to deal on a daily basis. The challenges will slightly skewed to lending business model but i try to make it relevant for other fintech as well.
Ive spent the whole last week working in Surabaya. The project that im working on is on expansion mode, hence i went around several areas in East Java to monitor and support that implementation. I had spare time on Friday afternoon, so i linked up with my senior in college, mas Nisfu, which is currently department head of my almamater. After few chit chat, he invited me to guest lecture in Leadership and Communication Class. Offered such a great honor and opportunities, i didnt wait a second to say yes.
To keep my topic relevant to the class, i decided to talk about how students can better prepare themselves for job hunting. I wrote about this couple years ago here hence i just need to make slides out of it with updated content and context.
In summary, i talked about how the rising of digital ecosystem in Indonesia made these current and upcoming years the best time to be IT students. However, there are also thousands of IT graduates which will be competing for a job hence by graduation, they need to be already “job-ready”. Then i described the concept about “job-ready” (inspired by Joel Spolsky post ) and several things students can do in college to setup themselves to be job-ready.
The class was amazing. It was probably the most enjoyable teaching experience i had since god know when (i teach class occasionally, so its a hyperbole). All of the student are still in their 2nd semester (2017 class). I was little bit pessimistic at first because material about jobseeking preparation probably wont be exciting for freshman students. However, i was blown away by the enthusiasm and quality of questions they asked.
These are some of the questions they came up with :
What is the difference between working in established companies and startups ?
Is this rising digital trend going to last ? what happen with job prospects when the trend fades ?
If i want to work for Tesla, what should i prepare right now ?
This is pretty amazing coming from second year students. Couple of times i was taken a back and need couple of seconds to digest and think for the answer. These ITS Information System millenials really exhilarates me, cant wait to meet them again someday.
Also, since i went to Surabaya on a company’s dime i also did not forget to slip in some messages from my corporate startup overlord.
Were looking for students from any background who wants to experience working in fintech startup and contributing to a positive social impact. Interested ? send your cv to that email address or you can just contact me by commenting in this blog.
In the end, teaching is really fun, i should do more of these. . Thank you mas Nisfu for the opportunity to teach. Thank you Information System class of 2017 for the enthusiasm and energy, you guys rock!.
Since coming back home to Indonesia, ive been working in a fintech startup called Amartha. Amartha is a peer-to-peer lending platform targeting unbankable populations in rural Indonesia. Inspired by Grameen Bank, loan was disbursed through group-lending mechanism and all of Amartha’s mitra (lender) is exclusively women.
My time here has been great so far, the company value resonate with me , i have a good team and im learning so much day by day. However the business model, the industry and startup environment is completely new to me hence i need jam lot of knowledge just to stay afloat.
Another thing that forced me to learn many things at once is my double role in Amartha. I am currently responsible for Amartha Go, initiatives to optimize our loan-collection process using combination of agency model and android apps. At first, I was responsible for business direction of this initiatives. However, the product manager resigned, hence i took those responsibilities. Hence not only i am managing a strategy team, i also need to manage team of developers as well.
I wrote a post about being a skeptic in this particular technology called blockchain a while ago. Apparently, this bite me in the ass because just one day after writing that post, Andi Taufan (our CEO in Amartha) stated in our yearly plan townhall that he would like to start exploring how blockchain could benefit our business in the upcoming years.
Well, that leave me no choice but start diving because as skeptic as i am into blockchain, who doesnt want the opportunity to work in something the whole fuckin world goes bonkers about. Besides its always exciting to learn something new.
So here in this post i share some of things i read or watch to help me understand the hypebeast that is blockchain. I am by all means a complete rookie so do help me by recommending better or more comprehensive source in the comments below.
In the midst of block chain hype, i read an HackerNoon article which reminds us that one (or plenty) dose of healthy skepticism regarding the technology is necessary.
Kai Stinchombe elaborates many points on why blockchain characteristics (distributed, encrypted and anonymous ledger) might not be best suited to “revolutionize” many of the hypothethical use cases of this technology.
Really enjoy this article. I share some of the pessimism regarding this technology. One of my team mate is really excited to research block-chain on one of our business problem, but i still havent convinced yet because i felt like that is merely a ledger problem which will be overkill to solve it using distributed ledger.
Read the full article here, do make sure to read the comment discussion as well since there are many contrarian points which adressed nicely by Kai.
Here are some of the highlights :
On payments and banking :
– For processing payments, Visa currently can handle 60k transactions per second while blockchain-enabled Bitcoin current maximum is 7
– With 0.01% performance, Bitcoin estimated to use 35 more electricity than VISA
On Anonymity and freedom from government overreach
– Government-backed banking system provide guarantee, reversibility, identity verification, audit standards and investigation system. Bitcoin on the other hand has none hence Bitcoin is akin to banking institution in the middle-age
– Smart-contracts are self-executing contracts which can be encoded in block-chains
– Theoretically, Smart Contracts are more cost effective than “dumb contract” because they will execute the clause automatically with no ambiguous interpretation
– Dumb contract are better and safer because of their “slow” nature. it makes it possible for human intervention and leave room for debate from both-sides of contract
On blockchain as distributed storage, computing and messaging
– Blockchain as distributed storage seems make sense : break document up into “blocks”, encrypt, and put them in a distributed ledger
– However current common solution for this (Dropbox, GDrive) is better in many ways : multiple factor authorization instead of private keys, price and features
On blockchain as stock issuance (ICO)
– Primary role of government-backed stock exchange (e.g Nasdaq) is compliance and security provider. Taking these factor out of stock-issuance is a recipe for daylight robbery
On blockchain as authenticity verification
– Other usecase for blockchain is to make public, unalterable, undeletable statement published publicly
– However, in blockchain, there are no way to delete the records or override the transaction
– Adopting block chain technology makes theft or impersonation more likely rather than less
– Advantage of existing existing human and software systems surrounding transactions outweigh promised benefits of blockchain as well as hidden costs, of irrevocable, automated execution
– With all the hype, nobody currently asking questions whether current user of existing system (payments, credit card holder) are seeing the benefit of blockchain
Been a while since i wrote something music related and i believe there are no better time than now. End of the year where many blog pick their best 2017 list and Spotify year-end summary is prevalent all over my friend pages in various social media.
I felt like i didnt listen to as many music as previous year. Bit of growing up (or getting old) probably. I seldom listen to music when im working now because it throw my focus out of the window. However as an effort to be, referring to Seringai’s credo, generasi menolak tua i still constantly and consciously explore new music regularly. I felt that it makes me more creative and keeps me from being boring. I dont want to be that guy in their 30s which still put Hybrid Theory on pedestal of great music and whine about kids these days.
2017 also the year i switch from free Deezer to premium Spotify. Mainly because the change of status from poor scholarship student into a salary man again. Spotify is great however Deezer often get overlook, the free version is better than spotify in my opinion. Protip: use Deezer web player and install adblock.
So without further due, here are my pick for great albums released this year. Click the header to listen the album on spotify. Also, i compile the tracks on the album and several other tracks i really enjoy this year in below spotify playlist. Listen to it while reading this for maximum experience!.
Following up my last post, in this post i will put the abridged version of my master dissertation. At first, i hesitated to put this in blog because after reading it again after submission, i realized it was total shit. However, several days ago i received my final grade from the university and it way over what i expected. I got near perfect grade for my dissertation hence i was officially graduated Master of Science with distinction.
Due to those result, i decided to post the dissertation on my blog. I hope that it can be useful somehow especially for someone who wants to pick Indonesia / Jakarta / Slipi start up ecosystem as a research topic.
The whole document 21 thousand word long which i think is too overwhelming if i copy paste everything here. Hence i will post only certain chapters such as research background, context introduction, analysis, conclusion and limitation in order to be more digestable.
If you just want to read the broad overview of my research and dont want to be bothered by this 6000 word post, check out this slide.
As an acknowledgement, this dissertation was written by me, Kiki Ahmadi , and supervised by Dr Elvira Uyarra. This dissertation was submitted to The University of Manchester for completion of MSc degree in the Faculty of Humanities in September 2017.