Today 16 startups from India and Indonesia begin a two-week training program at Google HQ in Silicon Valley. It’s part of a new Google Developers Launchpad Accelerator program for mobile startups, which gives US$50,000 equity-free seed funding as well as US$250,000 worth of access to Google products like Maps and Adwords. More importantly, they will work closely with the global giant for six months, gaining access to Google mentors and engineers.
For the first batch under this program, Google chose startups from India, Indonesia, and Brazil which address challenges in their home regions and are ready to scale.
India’s an obvious choice for Google to engage with mobile startups and developers. The nation of 1.3 billion has over 600 million mobile users and over 400 million internet users.
Here are the 8 Indian startups Google picked for the first edition of the Launchpad Accelerator training program which gets under way today:
Doormint is an on-demand laundry services startup that launched in Mumbai last year and raised US$3 million in series A funding from Helion Venture Partners and Kalaari Capital. It is in the process of expanding in Bangalore and Delhi. The biggest challenge it faces is keeping up the quality of services as it scales up – but a huge opportunity beckons in the size of the market.
HolaChef is an on-demand food delivery service that curates meals from chefs who run their own kitchens. It has raised over US$3 million in seed funding from Kalaari Capital and India Quotient. Food startups hit a trough in India last year as quality and delivery issues tripped up a number of them. On the other hand, HolaChef, founded in 2014, has resisted going on an expansion spree. It currently operates only in Mumbai and neighboring Pune with selected chefs and not restaurants.
JustRide is an on-demand car rental service founded last year which has raised over US$3 million in seed funding from angel investors. It currently operates in Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, and Delhi. Now it plans to scale up rapidly across India. While on-demand taxi apps Uber and Ola have taken off in India, the self-drive car rental space is relatively nascent, with emerging players like JustRide and its main rival Zoomcar.
NestAway is a rental platform for fully furnished homes in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Delhi, Noida, and Gurgaon, targeted at the influx of migrant professionals into these cities. The Bangalore-based startup launched last year has already raised series B funding of US$12 million from Tiger Global and Flipkart. It hopes to carve out a niche in this space to compete with marketplaces like QuikrHomes, PropTiger, and Housing.
Mumbai-based Super, which calls itself the “Tinder for jobs,” focuses on helping developers, designers, and marketers find jobs with tech startups in India. One of the biggest challenges Indian startups face is to find suitable talent at the right time when they scale up. A number of hiring startups have been coming up with different solutions to meet this need.
Murmur is a media app aimed at millennials, offering a personalized blend of photos, GIFs, videos, blogs, and news. It’s a reincarnation of Bluegape which began as an online merchandize store and pivoted to a video blog, before turning into Murmur. It competes with Inshorts which began with 60-word news summaries before expanding its repertoire to include infographics, podcasts, and videos.
English Dost is a mobile app that helps Indians improve their chances in the job market by becoming proficient in spoken English. It uses a gamified approach where a user plays the role of a salesperson and uses English in various real life situations. It competes with Hello English which can be personalized for speakers in 15 different Indian languages.
FranklyMe is a video blogging platform that helps users with tools to post and share their videos. It began as a Q&A video platform to engage with celebs and politicians, but recently pivoted into a social networking platform. Video is an emerging space in the region where YouTube is wildly popular. Another social platform for videos is Vidinterest from Nepal.
And the 8 startups from Indonesia
Those are the 8 from India in the Google Launchpad Accelerator. The other Asian country represented in the first edition of this program kicking off today is Indonesia, which is mobile-first, like India. Here are the 8 startups from Indonesia participating in the training program at Google HQ in Silicon Valley:
Jojonomic is a book-keeping app that helps users keep track of income and expenses. It recently raised funding from East Ventures. Fintech is a fast-growing segment for tech startups in Indonesia, following an ecommerce boom.
Kakatu is an app that lets parents set controls on their kids’ digital activities. It also helps parents develop a healthy relationship with kids on their use of gadgets, with the help of psychologists. The startup was founded by Muhamad Nur Awaludin, who was himself a gadget and gaming junkie for over 10 years.
partners with universities to provide online courses and certification. The startup was founded in 2013 and raised series A funding from CyberAgent Ventures in 2014. It is similar in concept to Schoolguru in India which has forged partnerships with 12 universities to provide elearning to their students.
Setipe has been bucking cultural taboos to get the online dating scene going in Indonesia since its launch in 2013. It uses anonymity to make the matchmaking safer. The Jakarta-based startup was initially bootstrapped and then raised funding from anonymous angel investors.
Kerjabilitas is an online service connecting persons with disabilities and inclusive employers. India has a similar service called EnAble India aimed at empowering people with disabilities.
Kurio is a smart news app that lets users discover, explore, and read the content they like. Its recommendation engine personalizes the feed to user interests and professional calling. The app was launched in late 2013. Kurio was one of the startups we spotted and showcased from our Bootstrap Alley at Tech in Asia’s Jakarta conference in 2014.
Seekmi is an on-demand home services startup, seeking to make life easier for busy millennials in Indonesia. Launched in mid-2015, it has Y Combinator partner Justin Kan and former Indonesia minister for tourism Mari Pangestu as early investors. The Jakarta-based startup will no doubt exchange notes with Doormint from Mumbai, which is also participating in the Google program, on how to ensure quality from the service providers using their platforms.
EFishery – a product of Cybreed – aims to disrupt the aquaculture industry by deploying tech to feed fish at scale. More than half the overhead cost of commercial aquaculture goes toward feeding, and this startup from Bandung wants to make fish farming more efficient. It reeled in funding last September from Netherlands-based Aqua-Spark. Indonesia is sprawled across 17,000 islands, which makes fishery one of the main occupations in the country. Cybreed is therefore a startup to watch in this space.
Google has been increasing its engagement with tech startups and the developer community in emerging markets. Last weekend it held a live event to pick a winner from 5 shortlisted startups at the Startup India Standup India event hosted by the Indian government in Delhi. Bangalore-based Cardiac Design Labs, which helps monitor the cardiac health of patients in rural areas with wearable devices, won US$100,000 in Google credits. It will also be eligible for the Google Launchpad Week from which startups will be chosen for the next Launchpad Accelerator program starting in July.
5 Indonesian startups to watch in 2016
No doubt, 2015 belonged to on-demand services and transportation startups. It was the year Go-Jek and GrabTaxi went into hyper-expansion mode. Both are likely still burning cash. But they’ve been successful in another sense: establishing new consumer habits and expectations.
They firmly planted the idea that apps can be used for much more than chatting, link-sharing, and playing games. Smartphones across the archipelago are becoming the primary interface for transacting with the world.
In 2016, up-and-coming startups can ride on this wave of digital euphoria. While Go-Jek addresses daily needs such as transportation and food, I believe startups that tackle more niche needs stand a chance to grow big in the coming year.
Here’s my pick of the litter: five Indonesian startups I believe will become major players in their respective fields in 2016.
Indonesia’s education system is, regretably, one of the worst in the world. Indonesian students tend to rank low in literacy, test results, and graduation rates when compared to other nations. Reforming a flawed education system takes years, and it’s likely parents won’t wait that long.
They will seek out alternatives to educate their offspring—with the ASEAN economic union around the corner, pressure is mounting to stay competitive. Indonesia’s growing middle class will invest in education, and parents are used to paying for private tutors or classes to make up for what their children miss out on in school.
This is where Ruangguru comes in. The edtech startup has come a long way since it launched in April 2014. Its initial premise was to connect tutors with students, but it has grown into a comprehensive portal for online and offline courses as well as online test preparation.
Funding-wise, the startup is more than ready to rumble in 2016. It raised a seed round in 2014, and just raked in a “seven-digit” series A funding round from Ventura Capital.
There are competitors to Ruangguru in Indonesia’s edtech space. For example, there’s Kelase which offers online courses and adds a social networking aspect. There’s also Bulletinboard, which connects teachers with parents.
But Ruangguru has the broadest range of products and sends a singular message to parents: “Here’s how your kids can get good grades.” Some may not like the idea of paying for good grades, but I think this simplified messaging can help Ruangguru break through to the mainstream education market.
Assisted ecommerce: Kudo
Kudo is one of those startups I believe to be on the precipice of a major breakthrough. Only few local startups are tackling assisted ecommerce and Kudo may be the strongest contestant at the moment. It helps bridge the gap between major ecommerce companies and the rural population by working with a network of agents.
In Kudo’s case, these “agents” are usually owners of small shops, called warung in Indonesia. They sell everyday goods in their neighborhood. Kudo equips warung owners with a tablet through which they can order goods from various ecommerce stores for their customers. Warung customers can stick with their shopping habits and don’t even need to own a smartphone to shop online. Perhaps they could even see or try out a sample of the product in the store.
Forms of assisted ecommerce are being tested by major companies like Flipkart in India. With large parts of Indonesia’s population still lagging behind in digital literacy, I see solid potential for this model here.
Kudo has competitors, the most significant of which is Ruma. As far as I can tell, Kudo is the only one that hands out tablets with pre-installed custom software. On one hand that slows its growth (competitors offer an app which shopkeepers install themselves). On the other, this offers more security and control for the brands that sell through Kudo.
Kudo raised a series A round in April from a host of investors, among them Emtek Group. Emtek is also an investor in online marketplace Bukalapak. No surprise then that Bukalapak is one of the companies already using Kudo as part of their sales strategy. But Kudo also partners with several other ecommerce companies. 2016 will be the year for the startup to grow its network and prove it can boost ecommerce sales in areas which might otherwise be excluded.
Female ecommerce: Moxy
Ecommerce is one of the established digital business models in Indonesia, and there’s ample competition. Large everything-stores like Lazada dominate the scene, and marketplaces like Bukalapak and Tokopedia chase the long tail of small and medium sized enterprises. What could an ecommerce company possibly do to stand out from the crowd?
Shannon Kalayanamitr, co-founder and now CMO of Moxy, believes the answer is women. Women are already a key driver of online shopping in Aisa and they make purchase decisions for their entire family.
Moxy’s strategy is to build a strong brand that appeals to women across Southeast Asia. It makes the online shopping experience richer by supplementing it with media content created especially for women. The idea is to offer advice and inspiration alongside every possible product a women might buy in the course of her life: from pimple cream to home decor and baby products.
Moxy isn’t strictly an Indonesian company—the seat of its holding company, Moxy Group, is in Thailand. Moxy was lured to Indonesia by the siren call of its enormous market size and launched a localized version managed by a local team in June. It’s also backed by an Indonesian investor, Sinar Mas Digital Ventures. Word on the street is that Moxy might soon merge with another major Indonesian ecommerce player in the female ecommerce space. When that happens in 2016, I believe Moxy has the chance to break through as the go-to-site for female shoppers in Indonesia, and possibly Southeast Asia.
Agriculture tech: Cybreed
Agriculture tech is by no means a hot vertical in Indonesia now. But I believe it should and will be. Farming, fisheries, and livestock contribute about 12 percent to Indonesia’s GDP. Agriculture is one of the few economic opportunities Indonesia’s poor can participate in. Making agriculture more efficient, predictable, and profitable is a nut Indonesia has to crack if it ever wants to create more prosperity for rural communities.
One local startup has been preaching this gospel for years: Cybreed, whose most prominent product is called eFishery. The company develops its own hardware and software components to facilitate fish and shrimp aquaculture with a smart feeding system. This system doesn’t use a timer, it decides when to release food based on the pattern of the fish’s movements. Preventing overfeeding can save aqua farmers significant amounts of money. Cybreed licenses its components to aqua farmers for a monthly fee.
A darling of startup competitions, Cybreed’s eFishery has brought home money in the form of various grants. In September, it was able to raise a pre-series A round from Dutch Aquafarming investor Aqua-Spark and local VC firm Ideosource.
The majority of the world’s aquafarming takes place in Asia, and so far, eFishery’s product is unique. If it plays its cards right in 2016, it could set a new standard for aquafarming in the region. More recently, Cybreed has started developing new agriculture tech products, like a seed planting robot. It’s therefore not limited to the aquaculture industry.
Digital content: IDNtimes
Indonesia’s appetite for local content is far from satiated. The millennial generation (and those coming after it) are consuming and sharing online content like funny videos or articles constantly. Some have become content creators themselves.
It pays to build a site that speaks to millennials in Indonesia. Just recently, Hipwee, one of the local Buzzfeed-style sites with community-generated content, was acquired.
While I’m not sure what the acquisition means for Hipwee’s development, I have my eyes set on another content company modeled after Buzzfeed: IDNtimes. The startup is fairly young, founded in mid-2014, and claims to have 7 million monthly page views already. If that is true, it should have catapulted itself into a realm where it competes with older companies like Hipwee and even Malesbanget. Malesbanget, founded by Indonesian actor Christian Sugiono has been around since 2011.
I’m bullish in IDNtimes becoming an influential Gen Y media portal in 2016 for three reasons. First, even though it’s so far only raised a seed round, IDNtimes’ founding team may be hungrier and able to move faster than celebrity-led Malesbanget and the recently acquired Hipwee. Second, IDNtimes is planning a move into video content, and has a history of producing general news content. It could bloom into a diverse media portal with the Buzzfeed recipe.
Third, there’s simply a gap in the market left by the absence of some major international content portals. Unlike in India, there’s no Indonesian version of Buzzfeed. While Vimeo and Reddit are blocked in the entire country for censorship reasons.
Original Articles Source :
Tech in Asia, 5 Indonesian startups to watch in 2016 by Nadine Freischlad.