5 Ris­ing Lo­cal Tech Com­pa­nies to Watch This Year

Indonesia Expat - - FRONT PAGE - By Tin­nike Lie

“Here are five new tech com­pa­nies in the ar­chi­pel­ago that be­gan build­ing some­thing new last year and which could pos­si­bly be the next big thing in 2017. If you’re an in­vestor, these names may be a few to keep in mind.”

IN­DONE­SIA’S TECH IN­DUS­TRY is no longer just about e- com­merce. Re­cently, we’ve seen more di­verse ideas pop­ping up from lo­cal and for­eign en­trepreneurs alike. Here are five new tech com­pa­nies in the ar­chi­pel­ago that be­gan build­ing some­thing new last year, and which could pos­si­bly be the next big thing in 2017. If you’re in­ter­ested in in­vest­ing in In­done­sia, these names may be a few to keep in mind.


Habibi Gar­den has de­vel­oped an “in­ter­net of things”-based de­vice that works as a sen­sor to mon­i­tor plant growth and out­put. The com­pany aims to pre­vent crop fail­ure in In­done­sia, im­prove yield pro­duc­tiv­ity and in­crease cost ef­fi­ciency by avoid­ing over-fer­til­iza­tion and over- wa­ter­ing.

The de­vice col­lects pre­cise in­for­ma­tion on light in­ten­sity, hu­mid­ity, mois­ture and crop nu­tri­ents. Con­nected and net­worked with an­other piece of equip­ment called the Habibi dos­ing pump, the de­vice uses the in­for­ma­tion col­lected to au­to­mat­i­cally feed crops based on real-time soil data.


De­vel­oped by the same team that built the vir­tual assistant app YesBoss, Kata.ai is an ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gent- based chat bot that con­nects brands and cus­tomers. The plat­form will be able to process in­for­mal con­ver­sa­tions in Ba­hasa In­done­sia via pop­u­lar mes­sag­ing apps such as LINE, Face­book, Twit­ter, BBM, Tele­gram and even SMS.

Brands can use this plat­form to mar­ket prod­ucts, per­form sales trans­ac­tions and gather data about con­sumer be­hav­iour. For cus­tomers, the app en­ables in­stant feed­back from the com­pa­nies and may thus end the frus­tra­tion of hav­ing to rely on out­dated help cen­tre in­for­ma­tion.


Off­line ad­ver­tis­ing seems to be a new trend in In­done­sia’s tech ecosys­tem. There are at least five com­pa­nies work­ing on con­nect­ing brands with in­di­vid­u­als to ad­ver­tise on their pri­vately- owned and rented ve­hi­cles. One of the most promis­ing is Wrapmobil.

Wrapmobil en­ables car own­ers to earn ex­tra money from ad­ver­tis­ers by wrap­ping their cars with chic and well- de­signed ad stick­ers. The to­tal money drivers re­ceive will de­pend on the sticker size and the num­ber of kilo­me­tres that they drive each month. This is par­tic­u­larly in­ter­est­ing for Jakarta, a city that has earned the moniker as hav­ing the worst traf­fic in the world. Now, with tech com­pa­nies like Wrapmobil join­ing the fray, frus­trated com­muters can take com­fort in know­ing their time spent in traf­fic is gen­er­at­ing sup­ple­men­tal in­come for their fam­i­lies.


Kumparan is a soon-to-launch com­mu­nity-based dig­i­tal me­dia com­pany that fo­cuses on in­ter­ac­tive and col­lab­o­ra­tive me­dia. The plat­form al­lows users to sub­mit their own con­tent and fol­low other users to get their lat­est ac­tiv­i­ties such as new posts and con­tent of in­ter­est.

While de­tails are still scarce, what makes the com­pany in­ter­est­ing is the peo­ple be­hind it. Kumparan was started by Detik’s co-founders Ab­dul Rah­man and Calvin Luk­man­tara. It in­cludes Detik’s fel­low alumni Hugo Diba, Ine Yor­de­naya, Heru Tjatur and for­mer vice pres­i­dent at lo­cal ven­ture cap­i­tal firm Ideosource An­drias Ekoyuono in the man­age­ment team. Es­tab­lished last year, the se­cre­tive com­pany has em­ployed over 100 em­ploy­ees.


Funded through a grant from In­done­sia’s tech­nol­ogy and re­search min­istry, Helion cre­ated Wi- Fi bal­loons that aim to con­nect peo­ple in ru­ral and re­mote ar­eas to the in­ter­net, help fill cov­er­age gaps and bring peo­ple back on­line af­ter dis­as­ters.

Helion is ba­si­cally the lo­cal an­swer to Google’s Project Loon. The bal­loons are teth­ered at a max­i­mum height of a cou­ple of hun­dred me­tres and carry so­lar­pow­ered elec­tronic equip­ment that en­ables them to dis­trib­ute a Wi- Fi sig­nal to the sur­round­ing area be­low.

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