Singaporean fintech startup Koku has unveiled its plans to expand into Indonesia, following a successful US$2 million pre-series A funding round earlier this year, which was led by Decent Capital, an investment firm started by Jason Zeng, who had co-founded Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings.
The fintech startup works with Non-Bank Financial Intermediaries (NBFIs), building foreign exchange (FX) technology solutions. It is already exploring initial projects with NBFI partners in Indonesia.
Koku views Indonesia as an increasingly promising market with a high migrant population and increasing inbound and outbound remittance. Through technology, there is immense potential for Indonesia to grow its remittance industry as well as contribute to the growth of the region’s e-payments and money transfer capabilities.
The World Bank states that Indonesia’s economy has experienced tremendous growth, partly due to the contributions of its remittance industry. Examples of this growth include double-digit growth of 24.7% in 2018, and a recorded transaction value of US$8.9 billion (RM37.3 billion) of foreign exchange by migrant workers in 2017. Indonesia is also considered as one of the top ten largest remittance recipients in Asia in 2018, per the Asian Development Bank’s estimates.
Calvin Goh, CEO and Founder of Koku commented in an interview with Thailand Startup News “Indonesia is uniquely fragmented, and for us this presents great opportunity to contribute to the growth of the country’s financial capability as well as the region’s. We offer technology that doesn’t silo growth, but enables our partners to grow to their strengths, whilst at the same time leaving room to collaborate and tap on the strength of others. Koku envisions greater growth opportunities for the industry by leveraging on technology to deliver financial inclusion and change the way of life for Indonesians.”
Koku’s strategic plans to expand into Indonesia will include the startup collaborating with partners who possess expertise of the local market. These partners include e-wallet players, micro-lending and payment companies, remittance and money exchange businesses.Partnerships with these NBFIs will be centered around the integration of Koku’s technology into existing operations – ensuring that partners have the ability to go-to-market quickly and without disruption to their business.
In addition, Koku is potentially exploring opportunities to partner with local supermarkets and convenience stores, which will act as points of access to financial services, which will help the unbanked community move closer to financial inclusion.
“We’re extremely strategic in the way we approach our growth. Expansion into Indonesia will be very much dependent on engaging with the right partners. We want to ensure that our technology is localized to adhere to cultural needs and business needs.” Calvin Goh further added.
After Indonesia, the company is also looking at Vietnam and Thailand as it next possible markets to expand into considering the size of their populations and also their rapid adoption of fintech platforms.