Indonesia's BRI Ventures Launches OJK-licensed Tech Venture Fund Sembrani Nusantara
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Indonesia-based corporate venture capital firm BRI Ventures on Wednesday announced that it has launched a new investment fund called Sembrani Nusantara. The fund—which is fully licensed by the country’s Financial Services Authority (OJK)—is a locally-incorporated, independent venture fund for tech startups.
The new fund which is targeting an Rp300 billion first close from third-party limited partners is now welcoming institutional backers and other investors who seek to help Indonesia’s tech ecosystem.
The company called the fund a milestone in Indonesia as such a locally incorporated venture fund was not considered a viable option for a variety of reasons including the tax scheme.
BRI Ventures’ investment philosophy for Sembrani Nusantara is “value over valuation” and aims to target a specific type of company, thus taking a “hyper-localized” stance.
With Sembrani Nusantara, BRI Ventures will go beyond the fintech sector. The verticals that the fund’s thesis will revolve around can be summed up in a simple acronym: EARTH (education, agro-maritime, retail, transportation, and healthcare).
The name of the fund, Sembrani Nusantara, translates to a more locally resonant version of ‘unicorn archipelago’.
“This is fitting because the fund’s thesis will take an Indonesia-only posture,” explained Nicko Widjaja, CEO of BRI Ventures, in a release.
“We can see that the industry is shifting dramatically. Until recently, the priority for local startups has been to grow at all costs. Now, the name of the game is to simply survive and reach sustainable growth. The concept of the ‘unicorn’ itself is a word adopted straight from the Silicon Valley. It’s a concept that we think is beginning to lose its alignment with Indonesia’s digital ecosystem. We feel that we need our own symbol, one that can inspire local startups to rise from the ground and fly high. This is what the Sembrani represents,” he further added.
BRI Ventures is a corporate venture capital firm with $250 million-plus in assets under management. The firm is under Indonesia’s state-owned Bank BRI, the largest microfinance institution in the world, Indonesia's first digital bank, and the nation's largest SME lender.