Indonesian Fintech Investor, BRI Ventures’ CIO Says Company will Use $250 Million Fund to Create “Real Value,” Not Just High Valuations

Indonesia is one of Southeast Asia’s largest markets for digital platforms and services. The country offers an attractive business environment and opportunities for investors who are interested in projects that aim to take advantage of fast-growing economies.

BRI Ventures, the investment division of Indonesia’s oldest bank, BRI, has a $250 million fund that it plans to allocate toward the development of initiatives that can create real value for the nation’s residents.

In statements shared with KrAsia, William Gozali, CIO at BRI Ventures, noted that his company believes in “real value” creation and they aim to become “strong value-add investors” for their portfolio companies.

BRI Ventures is a Jakarta based venture capital and private equity firm that’s supported by Bank Rakyat Indonesia. BRI Ventures is established as an independent business entity with its own funding processes.

Gozali noted that the VC company focuses on businesses that are generating consistent revenue and also those initiatives that can continue to grow their operations. He explained that for BRI Ventures, revenue means “validation.” He also mentioned that when people or organizations truly value your products and services and when they value your brand or company, then that’s when they’re willing to part with their hard-earned money. This is a sign of “real value creation,” Gozali said.

He also clarified that there can be times when valuation merely reflects the “perception of value, the future.” However, validation-revenue means “the real value created now,“ Gozali noted.

He told KrAsia that BRI Ventures is mainly focused on Fintech, education, agriculture, retail, transportation, and healthcare related businesses. The VC firm has made strategic investments in digital wallet provider LinkAja, SME-focused Fintech firm PayFazz, and peer to peer lending platforms Investree and Modalku.

Nicko Widjaja, CEO at PT BRI Ventura Investama (BRI Ventures), a subsidiary of BRI, had stated (in late June 2020):

“In today’s digital tech business ecosystem, the landscape has shifted from growth at all cost, to sustainable growth. The name unicorn has been adapted from Silicon Valley, which might no longer sit well with today’s ecosystem. Indonesia needs Sembrani, a symbol for Indonesian start-ups.” 

In May 2020, BRI Ventures (along with other firms) invested in Fintech firm Nium. The company said it would use the funds to support its product development efforts.

BRI Ventures had also launched Dana Ventura Sembrani Nusatara (Nusantara Venture Capital) in Jakarta on June 24, 2020.

The company will offer convenient access to venture capital for digital technology and Fintech firms, including SMEs.  Dana Ventura aims to accelerate the growth of local start-ups by offering digital technology-enabled products in offline and online environments.

Dana Ventura will mainly be funding seed-stage and Series A ventures.

Widjaja had noted (earlier this year):

“The philosophy behind BRI Ventures investment is ‘value over valuation’ in which our focus is seeking businesses with strong fundamentals. The funding will be channeled to start-ups that already produce products, have income from their operations and have a clear business strategy toward profit.”

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