“So this is how it is. The optimal form of cooperation can be joint operations. It (Traveloka) can work with us to sell products in the application. It can also be cooperation in the sense that we take ownership in it, I think it is,” Sunarso said lately.
The move, he said, was in line with BRI’s strategy in facing the era of digitalization and disruption today. According to him, to work on business nowadays, his company must see everything in details including the reliability and asset cases.
“Then we can see the fact that in the payment system, many people invest in fin-tech payments. So the choice is that we both make small but lots or we join the big ones. I think the choice is not that easy,” Sunarso added.
Sunarso considered that BRI also had to build a small company. However, at the same time, this state-owned bank must also participate in large companies. Sunarso explained that joining here means that BRI is also preparing its organization. The presence of BRI Venture Capital can be the solution.
“We have BRI Venture Capital. Thus, I can say that we can choose the right and optimal form of cooperation,” he said. This venture capital company is ready to become the BRI’s intermediary in expanding in several startups. This is one of the strategies to continue to improve digital transactions.
Sunarso also said that every year BRI always reserves a budget for investment. However, the budget allocation could be for one target and could be for several targets. “We have allocated more than IDR 5 trillion for corporate action,” he added.
However, Sunarso has not detailed the amount of investment that will be invested in Traveloka, a unicorn startup that has a valuation of up to USD 1 billion. Meanwhile, according to the report from Bloomberg, Traveloka was waiting for funding from BRI worth 4.5 million US dollars.
Until now, BRI has also cooperated with several e-commerce players by providing payment instruments, both through server and chip-based electronic money, also with credit and debit cards. BRI Consumer Director, Handayani said that with these various collaborations, BRI’s digital transactions increased significantly.
Until September 2019, BRI digital transactions have been reaching 864 million or growing 63 percent annually. “Indeed, disruption technology must be addressed appropriately. (For example) we are working with PayLater in collaboration with Traveloka. We approach payment which is popular at fin-tech,” he said.
With PayLater Card, Traveloka users can make a transaction on more than 53 million online and offline retail partners through a worldwide visa network. Before aiming for Traveloka, BRI Ventures holds 19% of LinkAja’s shares. “We have obtained OJK approval,” BRI Director of Technology and Information, Indra Utoyo, said.
Indra further explained that the investment was carried out because BRI wanted to participate in ecosystem development. Moreover, according to him, 85% of 35 million BRI customers are MSMEs that are spread to remote areas. Thus, digitalization is important to improve corporate financial services.
According to him, acquisitions and strategic partnerships with startups will be intensively carried out until 2022. Indra revealed there are 7 ecosystems that become the focus of BRI’s capital including agro-maritime, education, health, transportation, creative, tourism, and retail. BRI is the bank with the biggest net profit in the country.