SB-ISAT Fund: It’s Difficult to Find Worthy Indonesian Startups (UPDATED)
More than a year ago, Indosat and Softbank initiated SB-ISAT Fund and allocated $50 million (now is equal to more than 668 billion Rupiah) to fund potential Indonesian startups. However, Indosat’s CEO Alexander Rusli admitted during IWIC 9 that his team do find difficulties in finding the worthy ones. BeritaSatu reported that only
US$ 50 thousand out of the allocated US$ 50 million has been spent on investment.
A couple of months ago, Dealoka, one of Ideabox’s first batch alumnus, secured Series A from SB ISAT Fund. Actually, Qerja also sealed an investment using the scheme, although it remained undisclosed by Indosat.
“We expect that in two years to come, the remaining of the US$ 50 million can be well spent. So far, we’ve only spent a little, due to the fact that Indonesian developers aren’t that ready to receive that much,” said Rusli.
The challenge of finding the right startup might derive from the fact that foreign VCs are oftentimes some steps ahead. After spending
US$ 50 thousand for Dealoka, the team are in quest of finding other worthy players.
“Picking the right startup isn’t that easy in Indonesia. The good ones are usually taken by foreigners. So it’s really a fight to pick startups with feasible future business,” said Indosat’s Division Head Public Relations Adrian Prasanto.
Rusli added that Indosat Wireless Innovation Contest (IWIC) is one of Indosat’s attempts to find worthy-to-get-funded startups. In its ninth year, IWIC encouraged the birth of women in technology.
“We’re proud to keep presenting IWIC until its ninth year, as part of our consistency and commitment in developing Indonesian digital ecosystem,” he ended.
Update: Indosat and Dealoka have confirmed the Series A investment obtained by Dealoka is $850,000, not $50,000.