Growing A Sustainable Start-Up
(Jakarta, March 8th 2018) With the 4th Industrial Revolution just around the corner, many new types of businesses are emerging around the world. In Indonesia, it seems that everyday a new start-up is opening and there is no shortage of talents that are willing to build their career in a start-up, especially the millennial. The sad truth is, like any other new businesses, there are only a few start-ups will be able to survive. Many start-ups dream to become like Go-Jek or Tokopedia, but unfortunately, that beautiful scheme does not happen to any start-ups company.
FPCI invited three panelists to discuss and shared their thoughts on the growing a sustainable start-up from the very beginning step. We had Yodi Aditya (CEO of Kargo Online System), Kevin Darmawan (Managing Partner, Coffee Ventures) and Donald S. Wihardja (Partner, Convergence Venture) as the panelists. Donny Agustiady, the Director of KPMG Indonesia, moderated the session.
Yodi Aditya began the discussion by answering Donny’s question about what is the first thing a founder need to do when building a new start-up. Yodi argued that there are two steps that must be passed by the founder in the early stages of making a start-up company that is looking for money and finding the right people.
Kevin Darmawan also added that the most important thing a founder must have in the early stages of a start-up company is a strong passion to solve problems, also open-minded and common sense attitude. A founder must have an honest intention of starting a start-up company so that it can answer any questions about the reason to build a start-up. The best idea in Kevin’s view is that it should come up because this founder is the one that experienced the problems and nobody else out there giving the satisfactory solution. “So, that the founder itchy enough to know that, ‘I better solve it myself,” and why you are doing that?” added Kevin.
Donald S. Wihardja stated his answer by telling that the right founder is someone with the right background and the right vision. Also, the founder has to answer the question which; ‘Why they (the founders) are the one that is going to solve the problems?’ It has to be something personal. At the next level, when a leader tries to build a product, he needs a “hacker” and “hustler”. Hackers will help you in terms of building products with a minimum price. To get a loan, a founder must understand about each figure in the company’s financial needs. “Before you had numbers, you need come and talk to the VC that is comfortable to evaluate your own credential,” Donald said. But if the founders bootstrapping, they need a hacker and a hustler so they can build a minimum buyable product and take the idea into it then test it (the product) on a market preferably with low cost enough, so they can find the demonstrate to the VC a market fit before fundraising.
Donny also asked Kevin and Donald about; “What sort of people that you feel more likely to succeed when they ask for the investment?”
Also, Donald argued that the character of the founder or leader is a natural thing and must be owned by someone who is starting a start-up company. So if the founder does not have that character, what can be done is to find the right partner to complement each other. The founders should have the absolute knowledge of the business; left, right, front, center, backward, forwards.
Kevin stated that he sees a lot of misconception and misunderstanding, even in Indonesia about start-up, that people think they do something when they build an app, suddenly they call themselves a “start-up”. “When you have an idea or project, you called it a start-up. This is a big misconception here because I think we need to differentiate between a start-up business and traditional ventures business,” said Kevin. Often times, when the founder comes and got rejected, even though some VCs say no to the founder, doesn’t mean the idea is bad. It’s just because the type of business that is not fit with the asset allocation investment that VC doing. Usually, start-up is associated with something that had high-grow and very large market. So, Kevin suggests that people have to be clear in the difference between a start-up and a traditional small-medium business.
Kevin also added that to be succeeded, the founder should find the right partner. Because Kevin believes that anyone can’t be that perfect to have the entire good quality founder. So that’s why it’s very important to be open-minded and have a common sense. “You have to be intellectually honest; you have to know what you’re very good at and what you’re not good at. You need to find a strong co-founder to help you on that journey.”
Building a start-up company is a journey if it is done because the motivation of being wealthy and popular, then the company has the possibility of rolling out in a short time and lose the initial goal of its development, namely to solve a community problem.