Techinasia Conference 2019 Takeaways

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.

Enjoy!

View from the front seat

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.

Jason Thompson, CEO of OVO

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.

Massive opportunities in Indonesia investment market

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).

I predicted OVO’s move to expand into other financial services back in May. Do read my analysis here. I also channeled Jason’s optimism on Indonesia investment market.

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.

William, Tokped founder versus Willis, TIA founder

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.