The Next Frontier: Nicko Widjaja on MDI Ventures' Top Three Bets
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With fintech on the rise, it’s no surprise that investors across the world are moving aggressively towards the sector. MDI Ventures, the venture capital arm of state-owned telco firm Telkom Indonesia that operates in Jakarta, Singapore, and Silicon Valley, too has eyes set on start-ups based on financial technology. Its (former) chief executive, Nicko Widjaja, considered to be among Indonesia’s pioneers in tech investing, shares MDI is as interested in health, logistics, e-commerce and education sectors. The fund, which initially used to focus on series A investment but has now shifted to series B to C stage investments, has seen some of its investments pay off via mergers and acquisitions in just three short years. One of its start-ups even went public on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Widjaja picks the top three bets from MDI’s portfolio.
The consumer space has also been a lucrative sector and in recent years consumer spending has been taking off considerably, supported by the growth of e-commerce and digital payments, such as mobile wallets and m-banking. Kredivo, as a consumer lending company, further fuels the growth of the sectors and is also fuelled by it in return (like a symbiotic relationship). We believe that Kredivo is currently the best company in the sector to provide consumer lending. It has performed incredibly well since our initial investment having been able to increase its loan book and at the same time reducing the non performing loans (NPLs).
CXA is a perfect combination of two of our current investments focus: fintech and health. Its platform allows enterprises to better manage the health of their employees and provide them access to health products and services such as health insurance policies that cater to a certain users’ needs.
From Telkom Group’s incubator programme, it has been able to show significant growth and synergies with our parent company’s ecosystem. It has a number of developments in the books that cannot be disclosed just yet, but are potentially game changing. It last raised funds from Mandiri Capital Indonesia last year and is looking to close another round soon.