[RECAP] AVPN Year-End Lunch and Discussion

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Last Thursday (14/12), AVPN and YCAB organized a year-end gathering and round table discussion on impact enterprise ecosystems in Indonesia.

Through this discussion, AVPN aimed to understand the current challenges of impact businesses in Indonesia and trigger exploration of solutions from various stakeholders. The event was well attended by a diverse group of RSVPs, from accelerator, impact investor, to academician and development agencies, who delved into conversation with vibrant perspectives. ANGIN, PLUS, Patamar Capital, Northstar, East Ventures, British Council, Edelman Indonesia, UNDP, UnLtd, and Center for Indonesian Policy Studies (CIPS) were among the attendees.

Ibu Veronica Colondam, Founder of YCAB Foundation, gave an opening remarks at the event.  After showcasing two successful cases of how YCAB’s former students reach success in their career, Ibu Veronica delivered a powerful message that relevant stakeholders should not work on “mobilizing capital” simply because they can but because they want to change a life, which is proven in the case of YCAB.

As Ibu Veronica closed her speech, Kevin Teo, Managing Director of AVPN’s Knowledge Centre, took over the stage and presented insightful research findings from AVPN on the continuum of capital for social enterprise (SE) both in Southeast Asia and Indonesia level. The session was then followed by a moderated discussion and networking lunch.

 

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KEY TAKEAWAYS

 

  • In general, there are two factors that shape successful founders. The first is internal factor. Participants saw successful founders shared common drive/ eagerness/ passion. As for the second, successful founders usually are surrounded by supporting external factors, such as capital, mentor, and so on.
  • Investors do not assess investment opportunity in the same way. Angel investors like ANGIN prioritize business sustainability more than scalability, venture capital firms like East Ventures usually are more keen on companies who prioritize scalability (go broad, aggressive user growth) more than sustainable, meanwhile private equity firms like Northstar weighs inn founders’ vision and existing track records more.
  • The same goes on the way they see impact measurement. ANGIN shared that as angel investors commonly deal with very early-stage enterprises, they do not mind if the founders do not have metrics measured yet as long as their Theory of Change makes sense. Simple metrics are also accepted as at pre-seed to seed stage, it is more important to prove problem-solution and product-market fit. Similarly, more commercial-driven venture capital firms like East Ventures also accept simple impact metrics as they put more consideration on their business metrics. Meanwhile, impact investors like Kinara, emphasize the importance of impact metrics and support social enterprises in measuring their impact.
  • Two missing components outside Jakarta, capital and capacity building. Several investors are reluctant to go outside Jakarta as they have no local resources on the ground (especially foreign investors), the risk to bear is significant (e.g. limited information on the presence of investable social enterprise in the area), and the cost of transaction is high. Public sector (e.g. donors, development agencies, government) can play an important role to address this challenge by, for example, subsidizing the cost through grant money. Meanwhile, capacity builders in Jakarta with proven track-records can be more business scalable at lower cost by implementing train-the-trainer method.
  • Regulations and policies need to be improved. Many investors are discouraged to set up an onshore investment arm due to the current obstacles in getting a venture capital license (e.g. high minimum paid-up capital with no flexibility to dissolve the fund -can liquidate or sell the license-), as well as absence of tax incentives. In order to bring local investors “home”, government needs to improve the existing investment ecosystem.

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