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What We Learned from Running Indonesia’s First Fully Online 4-Week Tech Incubator!

93 startups were launched and pitched to VCs

Rama Mamuaya - 9 June 2020

Our first batch of 4-week fully online tech startup incubator, #DSLaunchpad, is officially done! We’re very happy with the results, and so glad we could help spread the startup mindset across Indonesia At the end of the program, 93 startups were launched and pitched to VCs.

Here’s our learnings from those intensive 4 weeks program:

Jakarta vs Non-Jakarta founders bias.

Founders outside of Jakarta is just as awesome as the ones in Jakarta. Seriously. This is the very problem that we’re trying to solve from the beginning. This is one of the reason why we even do this program. And our hypothesis was proven to be right.

During the program, we learned that founders from outside of Jakarta is just as active, as the ones in Jakarta. They’re just as energetic. There might be a gap in the level of knowledge of startup world, that that problem immediately dissipate once the program and mentoring starts.

We’re very happy with the quality of the products launched by the founders from the program, including the ones from outside of Jakarta which was always a black sheep in the eyes of investors. One of the founders from outside of Jakarta actually got seed-funded by an investor just a few week after the program using the pitch technique developed by his mentor during the program. It’s amazing.

Being a founder is not for everyone.

Don’t get me wrong: everyone can be a founder. But being a founder is not for everyone. The difference? Those giving out excuses vs those giving out results.

This is not something that can be forced, and I hated the perception in society that entrepreneurs are better than employees/professionals. That is simply not true. We all have our goals, and being a founder/employee/professional is a way to reach for that goal. One thing is not better than the other.

But, IF you do decide to become a founder, what you achieve/get done matters the most. Especially in the early days when you don’t have a team of a dozen people doing things for you. And during the course of the program, we did our best to communicate to the founders that it’s best to channel the energy in delivering results, instead of looking for excuses. Customers either love your products, or they don’t. They don’t care about your excuses.

Lack of market research is deadly.

The number 1 startup killer: no product market fit. No surprises there. Why? In our particular case, it’s because of the lack of research. Either founders know how to do it but didn’t, or they didn’t know how to do it. Lucky for them, this specific topic is the main topic for the first week of the program. More than half made significant adjustments, some pivot, and some even start from scratch after doing the proper market research.

Again, there were lots of great ideas developed in the early days of the program, but after doing further research, they found out that the market is not that big, not growing, no money, some founders even found that there’s no market at all. So they adapt.

Innovation can be scalable.

With the program completion rate is at 98%, Net-promoter score at 68%,  93 startups went live after the program ends (up from 42 at the start of the program). Lots of ideas and innovation produced by this program, in such short time (4 weeks). And the cost of this program is very minimal, proving that with a proper know-how and the correct tools, you can produce innovative productsat scale.

This will particularly useful for Venture Capital and corporate/enterprise. Instead of spending months on end to look for ideal startups to invest/partner with, why not participate and collaborate from the start?

Food for thought.

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