In an workplace area large enough for simply two desks however not large enough to comprise their ambitions, Jefrey Joe, Chandra Tjan and Will Ongkowidjaja launched their enterprise in 2015 armed with nothing greater than their huge expertise, ardour and drive. Quick ahead 7 years to 2022, they now have a group of just about 40 workers between Singapore and Indonesia, and lately raised $433m in funding, bringing their whole funding to $650m.
No, this isn’t the story of a start-up and its founders, that is the story of Alpha JWC Ventures, Indonesia’s first unbiased and institutional enterprise capital agency that grew to become the Southeast Asia’s largest seed fund.
Founding companions, Jefrey Joe and Chandra Tjan observed that the Indonesian startup scene was effervescent with exercise and nice potential, and thru their networks and conversations, additionally they noticed that there have been extra Indonesians getting began. within the entrepreneurial journey. Seeing a niche in assist and funding for the Indonesian startup scene, Alpha JWC Ventures was launched in 2015 as the primary unbiased and institutional enterprise capital agency in Indonesia.
With Jeffrey Joe and Chandra Tjan, each born and raised in Indonesia, and so with the preliminary group, the corporate is ready to faucet into its deep, native understanding of Southeast Asia’s largest economic system when ‘It is about making funding selections and serving to corporations in its portfolio. .
Quick ahead a number of years later, not solely has the group grown, however the geography of development, funding and path has additionally expanded to SEA. The corporate now has a base in Indonesia and Singapore, full of a group that has regional and world expertise in several fields. The expansion has been spurred by the booming and booming startup scene in Southeast Asia, which has seen many unicorns emerge in a shorter time these days. Alpha JWC has seen three of its portfolio corporations obtain unicorn standing prior to now two years: Ajaib, Kopi Kenangan and Carro.
The growth was not simply geographical. Alpha JWC has additionally developed its community hyperlinks and has the privilege of working with glorious companions resembling Kearney, Credit score Suisse, AWS, Paypal and the very best universities within the area. He has additionally co-led many fundraisers with different enterprise capital companies resembling Sequoia, DST, Softbank and Northstar, to call a number of. Naturally, it now carries the aim of figuring out startups not solely in Indonesia but in addition throughout the area.
The enterprise capital ecosystem is now in a extra mature section than about 5 years in the past. Valuation and valuation are extra significant, and there’s extra capital out there to founders as of late. With a house for development, innovation and entrepreneurship, Alpha JWC Ventures raised its oversubscribed third spherical of funding in 2021 to US$433 million, bringing its whole belongings beneath administration to US$650 million and rising making the biggest seed fund in SEA, investing as little as $100,000 in early seed rounds.
However occasions have modified. Founders’ missions should not nearly producing income or elevating funds, they arrive down to creating an enduring affect and driving constructive change of their societies. It might be simpler to fundraise now than earlier than, however meaning there is a larger focus now on the connection between the VC and the founder, and the opposite added values a VC can deliver to a founder. Funding stands out as the dealmaker, however the nature and worth of the partnership is the dealbreaker.
This consequently shapes the way in which Alpha JWC makes funding selections and sees its function within the journey of the startups during which it invests.
Alpha JWC Ventures has been a pioneer in its discipline of making worth for its portfolio corporations since 2015, as a result of it believes that startups want extra than simply an injection of capital for sustainable development and affect. The corporate has a powerful and rising worth creation group that works with portfolio corporations within the areas of organizational planning, expertise hiring, compensation benchmarking and advertising and marketing and strategic communications, amongst different helps that might profit every startup.
Most significantly, Alpha JWC can be the pal each founder wants – somebody who’s supportive however equally unfazed relating to giving suggestions. Groups tried each dish, each app, each espresso, and each service so they might give their most upfront/trustworthy suggestions to assist the Founders enhance.
Earlier than Alpha JWC invests, it determines a strong valuation of the startup by reviewing development projections, monetary feasibility, and product market match. The corporate achieves this by many information factors and drawing on its deep understanding of the market and expertise within the Southeast Asian panorama to evaluate whether or not an thought would succeed. Or not.
Nonetheless, crucial evaluation shouldn’t be so quantifiable as a result of it focuses on the founder. Nice significance is positioned on the founder’s readability of thought and his capacity to take care of it in all conditions to realize key targets and lead a group. Within the start-up journey which is strewn with pitfalls and challenges, the founder’s imaginative and prescient, his finesse in motion and the making of adverse selections will lead a startup both to success or to oblivion.
Concrete instance. For Indonesian unicorn F&B Kopi Kenangan, the founders have been very clear from the beginning that they needed to create their very own espresso model by means of owned brick-and-mortar shops with out franchising. They firmly believed that it was the way in which to manage the standard and scale of merchandise. Nonetheless, COVID hit and with Indonesia in lockdown, footfall at Kopi Kenangan shops dropped considerably.
The thought was that having so many bodily shops was a nasty thought and COVID “proved” it. Nonetheless, as an alternative of closing shops fully, the group as an alternative opened new kiosks close to locations with excessive human visitors resembling fuel stations, and developed new product choices resembling Cerita Roti, fried hen Chigo and low-cost on the spot espresso. The flexibility to suppose and adapt shortly whereas staying targeted has allowed the model to proceed to see gross sales and emerge virtually unscathed from the worst occasions of COVID.
One other instance of founders demonstrating readability of thought is one other unicorn, Ajaib. Its founders have been very targeted on serving the underbanked and millennials in Indonesia. This focus has impressed them to supply an extremely easy-to-integrate and easy-to-use buying and selling platform for retail buyers. They have been very clear on what to do and find out how to do it. The consequence? They’re among the many quickest to achieve unicorn standing in lower than 3 years.
Apart from the capital injection, the largest foreign money the place worth and worth resides is within the mutual belief between Alpha JWC and its portfolio corporations. We frequently overlook that earlier than the funds are invested, there should first be belief between the 2 events to consider that every is the suitable accomplice for one another. The holding firm should be assured that Alpha JWC will present assist and greatest efforts to open doorways and assist transfer issues ahead for development, and for Alpha JWC to take care of its integrity by making certain that the enterprise does the suitable factor on short-term good points.
Solely the place there’s belief would a time period sheet even be thought of and signed. Nevertheless it doesn’t cease there. The place belief is given firstly, it continues to be earned all through the journey of the partnership.
Alpha JWC additionally locations nice belief within the founders during which it invests. This explains why it has been an lively investor in early-stage startups since its inception in 2015 – roughly 50% of corporations newly signed by Alpha JWC for its Fund III alone are seed corporations/pre-seed investments. This reveals that lots of religion is positioned within the talents and imaginative and prescient of the founder over the thought itself, as a result of to start with there’s often not a lot income data or numbers to evaluate an thought. Moreover, 90% of the founders (from Funds I and II) subsequently acquired follow-on funding from the corporate.
Alpha JWC is focusing on the Southeast Asian market and stepping on the accelerator. He believes that is the golden time for the founders of SEA to be on the forefront and for startups to take their place on the worldwide heart stage. As the corporate navigates the ups and downs and lengthy, winding roads of entrepreneurship, it hopes alongside the way in which to recruit founders who wish to go away an affect on the planet and assist them succeed.