An Interview with Willson Cuaca

26 November 2015, by Media

Interviewee : Willson Cuaca, Co-Founder & Managing Partner of East Ventures

Indonesia's Opportunities as a Mobile First Country


As we all know, Indonesia’s startup scene is on the rise, especially in this past couple of years. We see many successful startups dominating the market in Indonesia. Names such as Bukalapak, Traveloka, Gojek, are just some of the few familiar names circulating the startup scene. Now, more and more startups struggle to rise, each finding ways to solve the many of problems Indonesia is facing. With this trend, international venture capital firms are turning their eyes to Indonesia, in search for the next breakthrough. IDByte Digital Trends caught up with Willson Cuaca, Co-Founder & Managing Partner of East Ventures to talk about Indonesia’s opportunities as a mobile-first country.

While Indonesia’s tech infrastructure is developing, and mobile penetration reaching 112%, Indonesian startups are still behind other Asian countries such as China, Japan and India, according to Willson Cuaca, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at East Ventures. “However, Indonesia is catching up very fast and in South East Asia, I can confidently say Indonesia is leading now,”he said.

That being said, the presence of Venture Capital firms plays a crucial role in boosting Indonesia’s tech ecosystem. Aside from funding, VCs provide startups the know-how, mentoring and community support. “Our portfolio’s founders and co-founders are the most valuable knowledge base for all upcoming entrepreneurs,”Willson explained, “We are like an extension of your family, and we call ourselves the EV Family.”

Surprisingly, what makes Indonesia a unique landscape for tech is inefficiency, which serves as the root of most problems in the country. The problems in the Indonesian society actually create a huge opportunity for tech startups to solve. Other than that, of course, Indonesia’s market size, plus its rising middle class and young population is very attractive for investors.

As a mobile-first country, Indonesia presents many opportunities for startup to grow. “We see mobile as a distribution platform. With more people using mobile as part of their lifestyle, startups must embark on this platform and capitalize the opportunity,” Willson said. With mobile in mind, it is also important for expansion of 4G connection across the nation. “Faster internet increases productivity and as a result increases our GDP. Better GDP per capita, better spending power translate into better economy,” explains Willson.

With a unique landscape and market, Indonesia indeed has got what it takes to surpass other nations in the region. What the country needs is improved connectivity and infrastructure that will support development of Indonesia’s tech and digital ecosystem. As for aspiring startups across the nation, Willson just have one simple advice to attract investor funding,“Target big category, and show good traction.”