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Silent Move of Angel Investor in the Indonesian Startup Ecosystem

Supporting early startup to grow into sustainable business

Randi Eka - 2 April 2020

Based on DSResearch data, there are 113 startup funding in 2019 announced to the public. As further analyzed, only 10 of the total funding involved angel investors. As we dig deeper, there might be more yet not published.

StartupStage (2019)
SampinganPre-Series A
ClodeoSeed Funding
FeedloopSeed Funding
StockbitSeries A
TitipkuSeed Funding
TalkabotSeed Funding
InfradigitalSeed Funding
NgampoozPre-Series A
Fore CoffeeSeries A
TemanBisnisSeed Funding

In fact, angel investor is an individual that pours money to startup from his/her own pocket. As the current trends, most of them involved in pre-seed, seed funding, or pre-series A. Although, there also angel (a group to be exact) involved in the series A with venture capital.

Helping startup to validate

As it’s first established and launched its debut product, not much could be harvested from the startup business. In order to gain traction, profit is often ruled out. They come to investors to ask for capital assistance, in order to accelerate the plans.

Not all business plans can run smoothly, especially under the weak-judgment founders. The technology products might be very sophisticated, but sometimes the market says otherwise, they don’t need that as a solution – it’s reluctant to use, even less paying for it. It’s risks like this that investors thought before actually channeling funds.

“Angel investors are entrepreneurs who dare to take risks by investing in new startups. Angel investors usually provide capital, but can also be non-capital,” Ideosource’s Managing Partner Andi Boediman said once.

Regarding the value, it is quite varied and depends on startup needs. However, we’ve been informed that the average value is between tens of millions to 1 billion Rupiah – mostly hundreds of millions Rupiah. In Indonesia, the angel consists of entrepreneurs who are indeed an expert in the business. Therefore, it is true what Andi said, sometimes angel can provide non-capital assistance as a mentor for the founder.

Profit after growth

The business growth will also benefit angel investor, they sometimes took part as a mentor / Freepik
The business growth will also benefit angel investor, they sometimes took part as a mentor / Freepik

The existence of startups that turns into the big players in Indonesia can’t be separated with angel investor as it’s entering the seed phase, including Gojek and Tokopedia.

“… I then learned the concept to build a business with capital from angel investor to venture capital. I know no venture capital anywhere, then I turn to the only conglomerate I know, my current boss,” Tokopedia’s Co-Founder & CEO, William Tanuwijaya told us the early phase of its company.

There are several aspects that can affect angel’s consideration when investing in a startup. Michael Tampi told DailySocial that trusting the founder has been his main thesis. In addition, other things such as market opportunities, business plans, to the intellectual property also remain a consideration.

Some things that angel investors saw in evaluating the founding team included (1) whether they have passion and experience in related fields, (2) whether they had the right composition in forming a team, and (3) how they build the vision towards the business.

Even though investing in high-risk businesses, angel investors can also gain profits once the related startups succeed in achieving growth. The realization comes when the startup succeeded in raising larger funding round – then, ownership (shares) became more valuable.

“The advantage of being an angel investor is that if a startup succeeds in funding series A, B or later, we can see a significant increase in value seed investment. However, the success of one startup is uncertain and mostly shut down before the next funding,” GDP Venture’s Chief Marketing Officer Danny Oei Wirianto said, who is also an angel investor for more than 30 startups.

As the catalyst to the startup ecosystem

DailySocial monitored, there are various new startups launch every month. They intend to offer a solution to specific problems – of all sectors. Sometimes, the innovation offered is quite advanced, such as developing artificial intelligence for specific purpose.

It’s another challenge to the founder to convince venture capitalist. It’s another story when they finally meet people of one mind. As it’s said in a writing, angel investor also invests to fulfill their desire. It’s when they really into the business sector, captivated by the developed technology, or they see the future of the service.

Clearly, angel investor turns into a very crucial role to develop the startup ecosystem, accompany those growing founders into the sustainable business. Particularly, the Indonesian market that is projected to be the hub in this region. Lots of young souls have dreams to build a successful startup – as seen from the tight business competition with new and unique digital creations.

Angel investor mechanism

Some angel investors invest money in terms of loans, some are gain ownerships / Freepik (dooder)
Some angel investors invest money in terms of loans, some are gain ownerships / Freepik (dooder)

Unfortunately, unlike venture capital with clear identity as an investor, angel investors sometimes just seem like ordinary people or entrepreneurs who are running their business. In order to discover, the founder must improve his business network, both directly through meetings and online through channels such as LinkedIn, AngelList and so on. Though, believe me, some of our informants revealed that finding, negotiating, equating vision, to closing funding with angel investors is not easy peasy. Once you succeed, it could be a way of your startup growth.

Regarding investment mechanisms, there are two of the most popular models, through equity stake or convertible note. In terms of shares, investors will exchange the cash they provide for ownership in the company. The amount will depend on mutual agreement. The calculation can also be as simple as if the current startup is worth US$1,000,000 (founders and investors agree), angel will invest at US$200,000, then they will get 20%.

However, calculations about company value or valuation sometimes get complicated. Founders are usually ambitious, wanting companies to have the highest value possible. Therefore, the second mechanism is often the choice. A convertible note allows both parties to determine the value of the company ahead, usually until the next round of investment. The note is made as a loan to the company, and it has a deadline

The process goes, for example, angel investors agree on a note by including a capital fund of US $ 200,000, it is at the company’s debt. However, when due, investors can choose whether to get their money back with the agreed interest or convert the money into company stock.

Once approved, the next process is to make the term sheet (either by investors or startups). The point of this document is as a sign of ties, including outlining every detail related to the agreement made. Usually, it requires a legal team to take care of this matter, which can take a while.


Original article is in Indonesian, translated by Kristin Siagian

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