Retrospective: Startup Asia Jakarta 2014

If you have not been living under a rock, you might have known that Startup Asia Jakarta 2014 took place last week, on the 26 and 27 of November at Plaza Bapindo! Now, we present to you all the deets and what went down this year.

Startup Asia Jakarta is a grand 2-day conference that showcases newly launched and product-ready tech startups born in the region. Some of their ever popular highlights include the Startup Arena, Bootstrap Alley, Speed Dating, Meet the Media and more. For more on Tech In Asia’s Startup Asia events, visit here.

We have broken down our coverage into discussions and highlights for you!


Andy Zain, Managing Director, Mountain SEA Ventures, kicked things off with a keynote that outlined the current state of tech in Indonesia.

Andy ZainAndy Zain fuelling up Startup Asia Jakarta 2014 with his keynote.

He notes that in the country, less than 1% of retail is done online, which presents in itself a huge opportunity for those in ecommerce. Andy also mentions that Indonesia is transforming into a more tech-friendly environment, and that the new ICT ministry has become more accepting of new innovations.

During a panel discussion on comparison between emerging markets in Southeast Asia, a huge challenge that surfaced regarding the Thai and Malay markets was funding gaps (similar to Cambodia). Panelists mentioned that it is easy to get small early funding and angel investments, but the missing middle is the issue.

Panel DiscussionsThe four panelists discussing how Indonesia compares to its neighbours in SEA.

Paul Rivera, Founder and CEO, Kalibrr (Phillippines), noted, “In Southeast Asia, you have to have a revenue model built in”. The panelists agreed that B2B startups fit into the S.E.A market well. However, Tuan Pham, Founder and CEO, Topica Edtech Group, highlighted that B2B in Vietnam could be tough due to the lack of transparency.

Anthony Tan, Co-founder and CEO, GrabTaxi, spoke about his highly successful taxi booking application which raised US$90million of funding in a year. He emphasised that his company is Southeast Asian, built by the people here and cater especially to the commuters here.

Grab TaxiAnthony Tan, CEO of GrabTaxi, sharing his personal experience building the company.

Ending off, he encouraged the audience, saying even though fundraising may not be fun, it is certainly achievable. He said, “If you love others, love yourself and love what you are fighting for, that is something nobody can take from you. That is something that will see you through.”

Peng T. Ong, Managing Director, Monk’s Hill Ventures, gave seven tips on how startups can achieve success. First, have a Big Hairy Ass Goal (BHAG). You might chuckle, but what it means is you have to think about ideas that make a difference. Do not just think about the money, but you have to possess some impact. Second, hire the right people and third, shape the startup culture into a smart one. Fourth, have reliable and supportive advisors to help you out. Fifth, phasing, where you develop your startup in the first phase and up its game in the second. Sixth, know your goals and seek advice. Last, be clear about everything that you do.


Bootstrap AlleyThe vibrant crowd of startups showcasing their business ideas at the Bootstrap Alley.

Here are a couple of interesting startups that were along the Bootstrap Alley:

1. Kurio: A smart news application that lets you read the what you want. It offers topics such as gadgets, technology and more, and allows you to customise it to your preference. Additionally, it is intelligent, and can study your interests to provide you with suggestions.

2. Votinc: It allows startups to build crowd voting platforms. The kick? It is instant. Use it to ask questions, and get immediate feedback from others. An interesting venture for those who need to make snappy decisions.


In the ever popular startup arena this year, Indonesian startup iGrow took home US$10,000 in prize money and a Startup Asia Champion trophy with their startup’s name engraved on it.

iGrow establishes a system for supervising and administration of agriculture activities. Users can essentially plant, monitor and develop crops in Indonesia as a form of investment. As the crops begin to bear fruit, the iGrow team will help users turn it into cash.

For Softlayer Favourite, Hong Kong startup PlayRoll took the cake, bringing home US$120,000 hosting credit at Softlayer. Second and third went to Arcterus and uHoo respectively.

Congratulations to all the winners. Startup Asia Jakarta 2014 was surely insightful, we cannot wait for the next!

All media courtesy of Startup Asia Jakarta.