1. Startup

LewatMana.com, One of the 10 Netexplorateur Award Winners (+Interview)

End of January this year another news of Indonesia’s startup winning international award popped up. After GantiBanju.com and KrazyMarketthe winner of SparxUp Award 2010 for The Most Promising Startup, LewatMana.com, became one of the ten Netexplorateur Award of The Year 2011 winners.

The news was published on LewatMana.com’s blog at the end of January. The award itself was held at Paris on 3 February 2011. LewatMana’s blog explains that Netexplorateur Award of The Year is hold annually since 2008. Netexplorateur is an organization supported by The Senate and Prime Minister of France, and over 200 experts all over the world (journalist, scientist, academics) watching over technology usage in internet and digital world.

Each year they record 100 cases of the most interesting technology usage. On final stage, jurors will chose 10 winners and chose one grand winner. LewatMana was one of the finalists.

More information on the organization can be found here, list of ten winners can be found here, and the 100 list here. Below is short interview with Pak Hendry, founder of LewatMana.com regarding the award.

DailySocial [DS]: Could you tell us how LewatMana managed to win the award from the start? Did you register or were you chosen by the committee?

LewatMana [LM]: We didn’t register, instead we were chosen for the top 100 and international panel of jurors chose us to be one of the top 10 finalists. Netexplorateur itself is an organization supported by The Senate and Prime Minister of France and funded by several big companies in France such as Renault, Air France, Lafarge, BNP Paribas, and many more.

They have network of experts in several countries to monitor digital society development all over the world and to present them in front of executives from big companies, related government officials, and academics.

[DS]: LewatMana is one of the top 10 out of 100, right? So LewatMana passed selections and become 10 winners?

[LM]: Yes, that’s correct. Only those who are in top 10 list get invited to Paris to receive the award and give presentation in front of all member in forum. So actually this is not a public event, only invitees can enter the event and there were approximately 1.000 invitees there. I also met and congratulated by Indonesia’s permanent representative in UNESCO who attended the event.

[DS]: From LewatMana’s blog, I’ve read several categories as criterias to enter top 10. Can you explain which criteria suited LewatMana?

[LM]: That’s correct, there are 3 criteria. Idea originality, impact to society, and role model. Society based Traffic Information Solution is the only one all over the world. Yes we have plenty of CCTV based traffic monitoring, but not society based. So I think we got plenty of points in idea originality criteria. And then there’s impact to society, because this site aims to support society in dealing with the real life crisis, surely this has direct impact to society.

So we got some points from providing solution that can give direct benefit to society by using available and affordable technology. Then perhaps some points from the third criteria because this kind of solution can become a more sustainable and cost effective traffic information alternate solution compared to conventional way that needs tens to hundreds millions of dollars investment.

[DS]: What did you get from this award, other than the trophy itself? Will there be any advanced program which involves LewatMana?

[LM]: Well, firstly recognition is an encouragement boost for our team and partners; secondly there are networking/partnership/investment opportunities. Other than that we will continue working together with to assist their network expert in choosing cases. We will assist by giving input and information should there be any solution or new breakthrough from Indonesia. I’ve also gotten opportunity to give a little introduction of digital startup ambience in Indonesia, which really interested them. There are great ideas coming from Indonesia, and hopefully with technology infrastructure and capitals getting better and better, it is possible that breakthrough solutions can emerge from Indonesia/SE Asia.

[DS]: Could you tell us your presentation experience there? And how do you think the participants’ interest on LewatMana’s technology or service?

[LM]: I didn’t really expect to see a huge audiences (you can see the pictures from this link), most of them are executives with serious looking type of audience, so not really a fun kind of startups or bloggers). Anyway, perhaps because my speech was on the second day, the ice had melted, and I’ve gotten the chance to introduce myself to them prior to my speech, so the ambience was much better. The presentation format was a 5 minute introduction by panel of experts regarding LewatMana’s solution in French, my presentation for 15-20 minutes, and Q&A session.

During presentation, other than explaining about LewatMana, I also showed several slides of interesting places and beaches in Indonesia, and they really liked it. During break time I shared some stories about Jakarta’s traffic and some of them told me that I haven’t seen the worst of it like in Rio De Janeiro, San Poulo, Beijing, Mumbai, etc.

One thing really interest me is there was a system where during presentation, audience could give comments and ask questions directly through available system (accessible through web by using Wi-Fi) or through Twitter. The questions will be flashed on a big screen like running text, and during Q&A session moderator will choose several questions to be answered. I got 46 questions by the end of my presentation, and unfortunately there’s not enough time to answer all questions.

So basically I got positive response from LewatMana’s solution because it is really useful for society and applicable to other cities all over Indonesia and other countries. I received good feedback directly from several audiences after presentation, several emails and tweets.

[DS]: Last question, after received this award, would there be any latest development from LewatMana? Including feature addition, monetization strategy, or other latest development?

[LM]: Our main focus is to build CCTV network and digital data platform, so not everything reflected to frontend application, so many will be transparent from users. In the future after data’s quality and quantity has reach certain level, automatically several features we are going to release will be much more useful.

Congratulations for LewatMana.com, hopefully with this award they can introduce more of Indonesia’s startup and developers who succeed in developing technology which try to provide solutions for society, and on the other hand help LewatMana to increase their service and provide more benefit to society.

Picture source: blog LewatMana.com.

Translated by Nita Sellya.

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