500 Startups, a Silicon Valley-based VC firm is targeting to invest in up to 100 Indonesian seed stage companies from its US$50 million Durian Funds II launched last October.
The number represents half of 500 Startup’s total targeted market in Southeast Asia, where it said it was looking to invest in about 200 companies, with each ticket sizes ranging from US$50,000 to US$250,000.
The VC firm also recently appointed Ashraf Sinclair, a Malaysian-British actor as its partner for Indonesia, along with managing partner Khailee Ng who will search for founders and teams with big ideas to help their startup grow.
But unlike other markets in the Southeast Asia region, the Indonesian market is proven to be difficult for international firms due to its diversity and the constant need for hyper-localised strategies.
Ashraf Sinclair thus serves as the VC’s answer to penetrate the Indonesian market, as Sinclair is married to the Indonesian actress and singer Bunga Citra Lestari. Besides, the actor also speaks fluent Indonesian and has strong connections with other Indonesian celebrities-turned-investors.
Prior to his partnership with 500 Startups, Sinclair was already an active entrepreneur and angel investor himself, with investments in restaurant chain TGIF Indonesia, restaurants, gyms, and production agencies.
He has been investing in startups since 2016, when he and his wife, took part in a pre-seed investment in concert crowdfunding platform Konsaato.
“Indonesia is now a market, it is no longer just a demand for entertainment but also services, products, and solutions that are given by entrepreneurs. Together with 500 Startups, we want to help beginner startups to build a creative generation in Indonesia,” explained Ashraf.
Working together with Sinclair, Khailee Ng also expects to see more new, game-changing startups, “I want the startup world to rival the world of mass media and trends, and Ashraf can be this bridge.”
“The startup industry in Indonesia is booming,” said Ng. “But it is still relatively new compared to the entertainment industry in the region. Many entrepreneurs building real businesses across the country may not have heard of venture capital, but they would have heard of Ashraf.”
500 Startups is a global venture capital seed fund and startup accelerator based with over US$250 million in assets under management. They have invested in a wide range of technology startups all around the world, and currently, has an investment portfolio of over 1800 companies since its inception in 2010.
Its investment fund – 500 Durian II – is anchored by Malaysia Venture Capital Management Bhd (MAVCAP), the country’s largest venture capital firm.
Some of its investment portfolio in Indonesia include Bukalapak, an e-commerce startup with a focus on helping SMEs; Hijup, an e-commerce site for Muslim fashion; and Bro.do, a startup creating better shoes for gentlemen, to name a few.