“We want to initiate cooperation between startups and unicorns in Indonesia and South Korea,” the Minister of Industry, Agus Gumiwang Kartasasmita, said in a press release in Jakarta recently. Previously, Agus also accompanied President Joko Widodo to attend some events.
He accompanied the president to the ASEAN – Republic of Korea (RoK) Startup Summit and the ASEAN-RoK Innovation Showcase at the Busan Exhibition and Convention Center (BEXCO). According to Agus, the collaboration that will be carried out bilaterally will not only identify several challenges and opportunities.
However, this collaboration is supposed to build a shared innovation ecosystem that can support growth, sustainability, and even efforts to increase profits for startups and unicorns in both countries as well as ASEAN. Besides, Agus believes that the activity can connect relevant stakeholders.
“With this activity, they can collaborate on the exhibition of innovative technology and products between startups. Moreover, this event can even expand the networks between startups, unicorns, and investors,” he added. And, he believed that it is the right time.
Agus thought now is the right time for startups in ASEAN and Korea to jointly dominate and lead the world startup landscape. “We want to give birth to startups and unicorns that are bigger, more resilient, and market-oriented,” he said.
He also revealed that in 2013, there were only 39 startups throughout the world categorized as unicorns. The term unicorn itself refers to a startup that is less than 10 years old but owns a valuation of more than USD 1 billion.
“In mid-2019, TechCrunch reported that there were already 452 unicorns and startups around the world. Then, the cumulative valuations are reaching USD 1.6 trillion. Unicorn growth is very fast in 2018. Within 15 months, there are more than 170 startups around the world achieved that status,” he said.
On the same occasion, Agus also said that 4 out of 10 unicorns in ASEAN came from Indonesia. There are Gojek, Tokopedia, Traveloka, and Bukalapak. He is optimistic that unicorns from Indonesia are capable to compete with other unicorns in ASEAN such as Grab, Sea, Lazada, and Razer from Singapore.
They should be able to compete with Revolution Precrafted from the Philippines and VNG from Vietnam as well. Nowadays, all unicorns in ASEAN have a combined market value of USD 34 billion, quoted from the Bain & Company report in 2018.
In line with the rapid growth of unicorns in Southeast Asia, South Korea is also facing the same condition. According to CBInsights in November 2019, there were 10 unicorn startups in South Korea, including Coupang, Bluehole, Yello Mobile, Wemakeprice, Woowa Brothers, and Viva Republica.
“That number continues to grow in line with the emergence of numerous new startups,” he said. Based on CBInsights data in January 2019, there were 3,617 startups established in the Southeast Asia region. Meanwhile, the total of new startups (non-unicorns) both in ASEAN and Korea is 3,919 startups.
“These startups are supported by strong funding and creating an out-of-the-box business. Thus, they can show their position in the world and are ready to compete with an increasingly fierce startup competition,” he explained. And it will continue to grow.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Research and Technology, Bambang Permadi Soemantri Brodjonegoro, agreed that startup can become a means of Indonesia’s economic and technological diplomacy at the world level. Then, the number of startups should continue to grow. Thus, the vision of Indonesia Maju 2045 could be achieved.