Written by Ahmad Zamroni / Forbes Indonesia
It’s a truism that Indonesia’s Internet ecosystem lags those in other countries by a few years. Venture capitalists Adrian Li, 37, and Donald Wihardja, 45, are turning that notion into an advantage, looking to bridge the more advanced Internet developments and entrepreneurs from around the world with those in Indonesia. To fund their firm Convergence Ventures, and act as mentors, the pair built a global network of Internet entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, mostly from China and India.
“We want to support entrepreneurs, beyond just helping with capital but also with know-how,” Adrian says.
One example of transferring know-how is when Steven Kim, co-founder of Qraved, had a meeting with Zhang Tao one of the founders of Dianping, a Chinese company that is now valued at $18 billion after a merger with Meituan. “We are able to have a one-on-one session,” Adrian says. Qraved was Convergence’s first invesment, an online restaurant reservation platform that was inspired by the success of OpenTable in the U.S. and was co-founded by Adrian; currently it has over 25,000 listed venues in Jakarta and Bali, and over one million monthly users.
Convergence Ventures was founded in 2014 and currently has 20 startups in its portfolio such as E27, Nida Rooms, and Female Daily Network. The latest investment is Helpster, a startup founded in 2015 that allows users to post part-time and full-time staffing opportunities to its curated platform for those who work in industries such as food and beverage, events, cleaning and retail. According to Adrian, Convergence Ventures is the largest Indonesia focused early stage venture fund with over $30 million in committed capital. Among its investment portfolios, nine startups have raised follow-on investments and four companies have raised series B. Convergence Ventures aims to add another 10 startups this year to its portfolio. “Investing is a very local game, it’s hard to do to overseas, and so we are also helping investors that believe in Indonesia but don’t have a presence here,” Adrian says.
Adrian and Donald are a formidable duo. Adrian is a seasoned Internet entrepreneur that in the past decade has co-founded and operated six Internet ventures in China and Indonesia. With an MBA from Stanford, Adrian is also a business mentor at several startup incubators and accelerator programs including Endeavor, Founder Institute, GEPI, Ideabox, Incyte and Sky Star Ventures.
Donald, on the other hand, has over two decades of experience working in the technology sector in Indonesia as an entrepreneur, operator and investor. He has spent combined over five years in digital payments: recently as general manager for Indonesia in 2C2P, a regional payment gateway, and previously as chief information officer in Indomog. He also worked in the private equity firm Quvat (which BKPM head Tom Lembong co-founded), where he helped managed an investment of over $100 million into the Matrix cable network. “Adrian has experience from the business side and I have experience in computer science, so we complement each other,” Donald says.
Original articleby Forbes Indonesia