Who Exactly is in Indonesia's Startup Community?

EV Hive and SurveyMonkey collaborate to find the answer

Guest Post - 16 June 2016

As many locals know, Indonesia has a fast growing startup scene with many interesting people. In partnership with the EV Hive we wanted to learn more about the people that are apart of the community and its periphery, so we launched a survey.

There were 124 responses, which is just the right sample size we would need if the total tech population in Indonesia is 500,000 and we needed an 80 percent confidence level with a margin of error of 8%. In truth, we don’t actually need an accurate sample size since for many of the responses the data was significant.

The results were fascinating and all the data is available for anyone to peruse. Here are the most important insights we discovered.

  • 75% of respondents have run their own business but only 56% are still running it.
  • On the question of whether entrepreneurship is a good career choice 94% said yes
  • The biggest motivation for starting a new company is to help others while “flexibility” was only the 4th most popular reason. This is most surprising since when asked why people thought entrepreneurship was a good career choice, freedom was the most commonly stated reason as free form comment.

Benefit that mostly motivating startup founder


  • On the opposite side, the biggest discouragement from launching a startup is “unstable income” with “fear of failure” a close second. 35% chose not having a co-founder which means there’s a need to help people find co-founders to start businesses.

Factors that may discourage a founder

  • Another big surprise was how many people said they were going to start a new company in the next 12 months with 96% choosing some degree of likelihood.
  • As a non-Indonesian, the most surprising answer to me was how many stated that eCommerce was the hottest category for a startup. With so many existing ecommerce companies, I would think that this space would be quite crowded already. I would propose a service business like Seekmi as the kind of business that achieves the objective of helping people while also catering to a strong business need; however, only 2% chose service business as an interesting startup space.

In addition, to these key insights there are also notable datapoints on who actually is a part of the startup scene in Indonesia.

  • Only 84% of the survey respondents considered themselves to be entrepreneurs
  • According to our survey, the community is 80% male in the 18-29 age group, with college degrees

Most respondents on startup survey in Indonesia are male

  • The current employment status of respondents was also unexpected since only 51% actually work for a startup.

Key takeaways

Surveys are always great tools for learning about a target audience, but they are only truly useful if there is something you can learn from the data to improve your life or business.

  • There appears to be a very high percentage of males which means that there is a female population that is significantly underrepresented in the startup space
  • The startup community consists of many people that want to be involved in startups, but have not yet taken the plunge to either join a startup or create their own. Help with finding co-founders and addressing fears of income (lessons on budgeting, maybe?) could go a long way to supporting people in their startup journey
  • Respondents want to be a part of startups to help people, but they think e-commerce is the best way to do that. Meetups and events to brainstorm ways to help people across the economy might spawn ideas that are not just e-commerce companies
  • On a question about whether it was easy or difficult to create a startup in Indonesia, respondents were neutral. On a question about whether the government is supportive of startups, more stated that the government was supportive than unsupportive. This indicates that the government support may not be making it truly easy to create a startup and the support can possibly be redirected.

Here’s a link to all the survey results, so feel free to come up with your own insights and share them in the comments below! You can even take this one step further by launching your own survey by copying and/or modifying our questions. Good luck researching!

- Disclosure: This article is written by Eli Schwartz, Director of Marketing APAC at SurveyMonkey, the world’s largest online survey platform, in collaboration with EV Hive, East Ventures' co-working space

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