MDI Ventures, an Indonesian venture capital, and South Korean KB Investment to establish a joint fund worth of US$30 million for startups in Southeast Asia - Photo by the Company

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – MDI Ventures, an Indonesian venture capital, and South Korean KB Investment to establish a joint fund worth of US$30 million for startups in Southeast Asia, local media reported. The fund will be created no later than the end of this year.

KB Investment is the venture investment arm of KB Financial Group. While, MDI Ventures is the unit of state-owned telco operator, PT Telkom Indonesia Tbk (IDX: TLKM).

Recently, MDI Ventures and other investors has invested $20 million in Hong Kong-based digital payments QFPAY. The new funding led by returning investors Sequoia Capital China and Matrix Partners, Japan’ Rakuten Capital and Venture.

This brings the unit of Wechat Pay and Alipay’ unit so far raised $36.5 million of funding series. It said, the funding will be used to develop new digital payment products.

Some investment funds rated, Southeast Asia’ fast-growing startup ecosystem still has legs to run on, although the opportunities are shifting and distinct from Silicon Valley. Nicko Widjaja, chief executive of MDI Ventures, said that despite the dominance of large unicorns, there is still an abundance of funding for startups in general in the region.

“Although right now the competition might be around Grab, GoJek and Tokopedia, I don’t think the ecosystem is in a rut. There are emerging sectors right now, especially in financial technology, health tech and new retail,” he said at one seminar last March.

The opportunities are evolving, Widjaja explained. He said that e-commerce is due for consolidation in favor of the largest, most established players. He cautioned that the Southeast Asia market differs from other markets, and it is important to be sensitive to those differences.

At a separate stage, Agung Nugroho, the co-founder of Indonesian startup Kudo, said that the fields of e-commerce, payments and land transport are already dominated by “titans” in the region, making it difficult for a fresh startup to compete in those segments.

According to CB Insights, global venture capital (VC) deals reached “historic highs” in 2018. The deals in 2018 were up by 32 percent from 2017 and the total amount spent on startups went up by 47 percent in the same period.

Last year, 264 brand new VC firms invested for the first time. That same year, VC firms spent $52.95 billion across 2,740 deals globally, and Asia scored 38 percent of them. On this continent, most of the activity takes place in China, Japan, and India, where startups-turned-stalwarts like Tencent and Alibaba are gaining momentum along with traditional players such as Japan Airlines and Dentsu, who are just entering the scene.

While in Indonesia, e-commerce industry is expected to grow rapidly in the years ahead and therefore Bank Indonesia set new rules to ensure that all firms maintain “the principles of prudence and adequate risk management” in accordance with national interests and consumer protection.

Google Inc. and Temasek Holdings Pte. Ltd., recently released joint research that shows Southeast Asia’s digital economy (which includes a variety of segments including e-commerce, online games, and online advertising) will rise to $200 billion by 2025.

Indonesia’ digital market is forecast to account for 40.5 per cent – or $81 billion – of this total market in the region. With an estimated $46 billion, Indonesia’s e-commerce sector will contribute most to the total.

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