Rising Stars: 4 Young Entrepreneurs Solving Indonesia’s Biggest Problems with Technology

indonesia 4 young entrepreneurs

Technology has the power to change and alter the way we live our lives in so many ways that most of us don’t even notice its existence anymore. Technology is literally everywhere.

According to Internet World Stats, 54.4% of world population uses internet today, which translates to 4.1 billion people. Asia alone takes up 48.7% of that 4.1 billion—almost half. Additionally, over half of the world’s web traffic now comes from mobile phones. This shows how actively engaged we are with technology and how fast its adoption is growing. In a country of about 260 million people and with over 100 million smartphones sold, Indonesia has become one of the nations with the highest internet penetration in the world. Technology has tremendously impacted our daily lives. From cars and computers to smartphones and the Internet, technology has tremendously impacted our lives and made it a million times more convenient.

Within each smartphone, we can access the whole world in just a click.

  • Need a lift? Uber
  • Need a house to stay for a few days? AirBnb
  • Need to purchase tickets? Traveloka

What you need is right in your hands. Tech startups have connected this borderless world, constructed a bridge that connects consumers and suppliers faster than ever, overall to help the world achieve betterment. What about in Indonesia? We have handpicked 4 young Indonesian entrepreneurs whom are making that change and transforming Indonesia’s technological landscape.

1. Adamas Belva Syah Devara, Co-Founder & CEO of ruangguru

Adamas Belva Syah Devara, an Nanyang Technology University alumnus, graduated with a Double Degree in Business and Computer Science. He continued his studies at Stanford Graduate School of Business and Harvard Kennedy School of Government, where he received full scholarships in both universities. His experience does not stop there, he was a summer analyst in Goldman Sachs and consultant in McKinsey & Company, and now is running a startup called Ruangguru.

If you are an Indonesian, you may be familiar with this name. It is a startup in the field of education. To be more precise, Ruangguru is the largest education-tech startup based in Indonesia. It provides a wide range of services to both support the formal schooling system and to widen access to high quality educational content to the furthest corners of the country through mobile or technology. It brings you closer to the teachers (and vice versa), enabling you to learn anywhere, anytime. He is gaining even more recognition and acknowledgement from the government and private sector and is expanding this magnificent startup that will surely improve Indonesia’s education industry.


2. Rani Soebijantoro, Co-Founder of BookaBuku

Next, we have BookaBuku. This beautiful and young Prasetya Mulya University graduate is the co-founder of BookaBuku, a platform that connect lenders and borrowers to facilitate the exchange of books. Her name is Rani Siti Khodijah Soebijantoro. During her years in this prestigious business school, she also participated in INKOMPASS, a global internship program held by Philip Morris International, known as the World’s biggest tobacco company, where she took the position as a Brand Marketing intern in PT HM Sampoerna Tbk. Along with 3 other peers, Rani wanted to enrich life, especially Indonesians’, through education and knowledge. That’s where BookaBuku came in.

BookaBuku itself is a platform aimed at raising awareness in regards to the importance of reading. It also aims to revive the trend of hardcopy books. For those who can’t read without touching the pages of the books, this is the perfect website for you.

With this platform, your books won’t sit around and fill up your space in your house, but you can move it around — lending it to people who need it. In economics, matching the demand and the supply. Reading is one of the ways to access and gain knowledge and BookaBuku provides the access. What Rani and her friends are doing is simple: encourage people to read.


3. Reynold Wijaya, Co-Founder & CEO of Modalku

If you’re into financial technology (fintech) and peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, Modalku is probably not foreign to your ears. Modalku is a Jakarta-based startup in the field of peer-to-peer lending; essentially providing you an alternative way of investing online. It is by far the largest online peer-to-peer lending platform in Indonesia, even Southeast Asia. It connects Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in need of credit and loans with lenders who are able and willing to provide investments. One of the brains behind this startup is Reynold Wijaya. He pursued his bachelor’s degree in Industrial and Operations Engineering in University of Michigan, then continued his Master’s degree in the same university before going to Harvard Business School.

Prior to Modalku, Reynold set up a tech-startup called Funding Societies along with 2 other friends in 2015. Funding Socities is a peer-to-peer lending company based in Singapore but operates around Southeast Asia. In fact, this is the first peer-to-peer lending company in Singapore, it engages and safely manages investors’ funds independently. In the beginning of 2016, he created ModalKu.

By January 2018, Modalku itself has hit $74 million (Rp 1 Trillion) in crowdfunded Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME) loans which is considered as a very impressive effort. ModalKu is gaining recognition and acknowledgements from the government and private sector due to the facility that he is providing to the society; a way to accelerate, encourage, and motivate people to invest in MSMEs and even establish one.

Related: The Unicorns of Southeast Asia: Meet the CEOs Behind Indonesia’s 4 Biggest Startups 


 4. Nabilah Alsagoff, Founder & COO of Doku

DOKU is the pioneering platform for electric payment. It provides service to do electric payments in Indonesia. They serve to facilitate, support and encourage merchants to practice business online, as a way to embrace the 4th Industrial Revolution and to practice efficiency and effectiveness. It is one of the highly trusted platform to do electric payment for merchants in national and international level.

Nabilah Alsagoff is the Founder and COO of DOKU. Nabilah graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in Literature and Comparative Literature from Murdoch University, Perth, Australia. She played a crucial role post 2002 terrorist attack in Bali, as she served as the consultant to advise the Indonesian Tourism Board on how to build and construct a portal that would revive Bali’s tourism industry after the tragedy. This is where DOKU came in. With 20 years of experience in entrepreneurship and starting 3 companies, she is still extremely motivated to achieve more. She may not be as young as the others in the list, but she is one of the most influential and respected female CEOs in Indonesia.

Related: Commemorating Kartini Day – Top 3 Inspiring Women Entrepreneurs from Indonesia in 2018


Written by: Felicia Joanna Siahaan

Felicia Joanna Siahaan is a third year undergraduate Economics student in Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. In prior to ProspectsAsean, She was Jogja International Model United Nations (JOINMUN) 2017’s president and part of UGM’s delegation in Harvard National MUN back in February 2018. She is now an exchange student enrolled in Erasmus School of Economics, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

Feature Image Credit: Vice, gettyimages, Jawa Pos, The European Business Review


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