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The Story of Indonesian Startups’ Founders That Gain Funding and Coaching from Surge

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As previously reported, five Indonesian startups get funding and guidance from Surge, a startup accelerator program under the auspices of venture capital company Sequoia Capital. These five startups are Bobobox and Qoala, who were chosen in the first wave of Surge.

Furthermore, Chilibeli, Storie, and Rukita were chosen in the second wave of the program. In a press conference session at the 2019 Tech in Asia regional conference, several startup representatives were present with the Managing Director of Surge, Rajan Anandan.

“Surge helps me and my colleagues see the fundamentals of startup establishment from the right perspective. Sometimes the best way to learn is to jump right away and Surge paves the way for it. I can learn in many cities of the world’s startup ecosystems,” Bobobox’s Founder, Indra Gunawan, said.

According to Indra, this program is really useful for Indonesian startups. He said that the three best things he got from Surge were coaching or mentorship, networking, and community. In addition to Indra, there is also Harshet Lunani, Founder of Qoala, a startup engaged in insurance.

Surge Not Only Provides Funding but Also Helps Developing Startups

“When we were in the stage of looking for funding, there were offers from others, but we ended up choosing Surge. The reason is that every venture capital company has funds to invest in startups, but only a few are helping in various aspects of developing startups,” Harshet said.

Harshet thought that the biggest thing he got from Surge was the network. “I can’t wait to learn about startups in Silicon Valley and other cities,” Harshet added. Surge itself provides funding of USD 1 to 2 million to early-stage startups that join the program.

Surge has four stages of the program including funding, community support, corporate development support, and global experience. Rajan considered the startup ecosystem in Indonesia is large and promising. Many sectors can be penetrated by startups in Indonesia because of the rapid advancement of technology.

“Indonesia’s startup ecosystem is at an inflection point. High adoption rates for mobile internet enable companies to interact with consumers in a large and rapidly developing economy. There are so many opportunities in every industry and various problems that can be solved by innovative technologies and startups,” he said.

Sequoia India itself has invested in more than 250 startups in India and Southeast Asia. Since it was launched in March 2019, Surge has grown into a community of 80 founders from 37 startups, from six countries. In Indonesia, Sequoia India also partnered with Tokopedia, GoJek, and Traveloka.

The Criteria of Startup Founders Selected by Surge Is Revealed

Interestingly, Rajan Anandan revealed the criteria of startup founders who became his target. The first one is having a big vision. This means startups that are pioneered must have a significant impact and contribution to the community. The next criterion is having deep insight.

“To be able to have something different (products or services), a startup founder must be broad-minded. That way he will understand the concept of product or market fit,” Rajan explained. He also said that startup founders must be able to form a good team as well.

He considered a good team to play an important role in the development of startups. Then, Rajan also highlighted the ability to execute the vision. In the end, Rajan stressed that startup founders must always be passionate about playing their roles as leaders and learning new things.

“A startup founder must also have a desire to always learn new things,” said Rajan. Meanwhile, Rajan also said that his company would be happy if startups contact them. “If you plan to make a startup, regardless of the location, we will happy if you contact us,” he concluded.

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