1. Startup

Alex Rusli in the Ecosystem: Startup Founder and Angel Investor

Invested in 11 companies, founded a fintech and end-to-end service Digiasia

Alex Rusli is very familiar in ecosystem circles. One of the peaks of his career was when he served as CEO of Indosat Ooredoo (Indosat), one of the largest telecommunications services in Indonesia.

Now Alex Rusli is busy with his business and investments. DailySocial tries to find out what he is currently busy with as an entrepreneur, a commissioner in three companies, and an angel investor.

Enthusiasm for innovation

Alex first joined Indosat in January 2010 as an Independent Commissioner. Then he was appointed President Director and CEO two years later. Several digital products launched by Indosat under his leadership are Cipika, Cipika Play, Cipika Books, and Dompetku.

"Before serving as CEO at Indosat Ooredoo, my career at Indosat was quite long. Previously I also had experience working in government and other companies," said Alex.

After leaving Indosat in 2017, Alex has been involved in various positions which are claimed to have spent more time working than when he was at Indosat.

"For me, activities as an entrepreneur, and especially starting a startup, provide its own adrenaline which is very interesting to follow. The structure of an irregular startup makes this process full of challenges but full of disruption," said Alex.

Together with his former colleague at Indosat, Prashant Gokarn (former Chief Digital & Service Officer), Alex founded Digiasia Bios (Digiasia). The company, which targets fintech services, is the holding company for the e-wallet service KasPro, the P2P lending platform KreditPro, and remittance services with digital channels and the RemitPro offline network.

"Right now Digisasia is the biggest investment that I have made. Together with Prashant, we are starting to acquire several companies and their licenses and then we will refresh it into a new story," said Alex.

All of his professional experiences are used by Alex to further understand fintech services, including regulatory compliance, in Indonesia.

Angel investor journey

Currently Alex has invested in around 11 companies. He does not hesitate to help develop the company's business, provide consultation, and help them find the right solution for the company's interests.

Alex claims to enjoy this new activity. Of the several investments made, only one, according to Alex, should be closed. The reason is because of the stubborn attitude and position of the startup founder.

"I have experienced several conditions when startup founders are very stubborn and reluctant to accept input or feedback from investors. As an angel investor, this is quite crucial and certainly disturbs the creation of a good relationship with the startup founder. angel investors, "said Alex.

In the future, Alex sees the dynamics and ecosystem of angel investors will increase in number. According to him, there are already many angel investors that exist in Indonesia, although their movements are not very visible. The concept of long-term investment is one of the attractions to become an angel investor.

"I who like things that are not standard and full of challenges are ideal [conditions] to enter the world of startups and entrepreneurship. But for those who like things that are organized and structured, it's good to avoid getting into the world of startups," said Alex.

The dynamics in operator business

Alex himself said that he did not close the opportunity to invest in the telecommunications sector which he has controlled for the last 7 years. However, at this time, he wanted to try to go outside and enter into new sectors and different innovations.

Regarding the challenges faced by telecommunication operators during the pandemic, even though it was a traffic harvest, Alex said, "I see this condition is quite difficult, because during the pandemic telecommunication operator companies could not raise prices. So even though traffic has increased, it is not accompanied by an increase in prices to customers. , "said Alex.

In fact, the telecommunication industry experienced an increase in revenue in the February-March period. However, income growth since March has continued to decline during the pandemic. The need for greater internet bandwidth makes their expectations quite high.

"I see that although fixed broadband services have experienced an increase in the number of new subscribers, from the connection side, there are still many who say that telecommunication operator connections are sometimes better than fixed broadband connections. This means that from the service side, it is still good for telecommunication operators," said Alex.

Original article is in Indonesian, translated by Kristin Siagian

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