#Asia 40 Indonesian startup founders you should know


Indonesia’s startup environment has seen a soaring boom since its humble beginnings in the early millennium.

Here are some of the people who believed in disrupting conventional company structures and gave it their all to establish new ways of doing business, whether through bringing consumers closer to things they want, or by bringing help closer to people who need it.

Tech in Asia curated a list of Indonesia’s headlining names, categorized by industry.

A disclaimer, this list only has names founders of startups that started from scratch, not corporate ventures.


William Tanuwijaya (Co-founder, CEO of Tokopedia)

co-founder and CEO at Tokopedia William Tanuwijaya

Co-founder and CEO at Tokopedia William Tanuwijaya.

Tokopedia is William Tanuwijaya’s first venture as an entrepreneur and CEO. He founded Tokopedia alongside Leontinus Alpha Edison, the startup’s present CTO, in 2009. The online marketplace has been a success so far in terms of growth and funding, closing a whopping US$147million round earlier this year.

Achmad Zaky (Co-founder, CEO of Bukalapak)

Bukalapak CEO Achmad Zaky.

Bukalapak got its start in 2011, when it spun out as a standalone company from Achmad Zaky’s software development company. The marketplace’s initial strength were bicycle parts, cameras, musical instruments, and computers, but now focuses more broadly on empowering all forms of small and medium enterprises. It has seen a positive growth in terms of funding. In February 2015, Achmad and the Bukalapak team closed a Series B funding round at an undisclosed amount lead by Emtek Group, one of Indonesia’s largest media networks.

Achmad is also married to Diajeng Lestari, a fellow entrepreneur and startup queen in the muslim fashion department.

Diajeng Lestari (Founder, CEO of HijUp)

Diajeng Lestari. Photo credit: Liputan6.com.

Diajeng saw an opportunity in Indonesia’s large population of muslim women and started HijUp, an online platform providing various fashion items for muslim women. She used YouTube to market the startup and it proved to be the most successful means of marketing to the fashion community. HijUp, which is a wordplay of the word “hijab”, was established in 2011 and has closed an undisclosed amount of seed funding, including from Bukalapak.

Hendrik Tio (CEO of Bhinneka)

Photo credit: Youtube.

Hendrik Tio. Photo credit: Youtube.

An ecommerce site for electronic appliances, Hendrik co-founded the startup 23 years ago in a small Jakarta rented home with a team of 12. Hendrik himself claims to be an original Indonesian educated entrepreneur, with an accounting degree from the University of North Sumatra. Bhinneka evolved into a large ecommerce entity with US$22 million in its latest funding.

Benny Fajarai (Co-founder, CEO of Qlapa)

Benny Fajarai at a Tech in Asia Campus event in Indonesia. Photo credit: TIA Indonesia.

Benny Fajarai at a Tech in Asia Campus event in Indonesia. Photo credit: TIA Indonesia.

Despite his young age, Benny already started multiple ventures. He co-founded Qlapa, Indonesia’s leading handmade goods marketplace, which is currently funded by Budi Setiadharma, Astra group’s chairman and the Rocket Internet fund, among several others. He also founded Kreavi, a platform for freelance creatives to get work opportunities from individuals and businesses, which he exited in April 2015.

Chaim Fetter (Founder, CEO of Jualo and Co-founder of Peduli Anak Indonesia)

Chaim Fetter

Chaim Fetter, founder and CEO of Jualo

Jualo is a marketplace for selling secondhand items. Its unique feature is that is looks for items nearby. The startup’s most recent round was its series A in August 2016. Jualo’s founder, Chaim Fetter, is a Dutch tech entrepreneur who also started Peduli Anak Indonesia, a nonprofit that helps underprivileged children in Lombok.

Fransiska Hadiwidjana (Founder, CEO of Prelo)

Fransiska Hadiwidjana. Image credit: Prelo.

Fransiska Hadiwidjana. Image credit: Prelo.

Fransiska has previous experience as a mobile app developer for the Indonesian presidential office and co-founding an AI medical tech innovation lab in Massachusetts, USA. she founded Kleora, a mobile app that aggregated fashion items from instagram seller’s feeds. Failing to get enough traction, it became evident that Kleora had to reinvent itself. Fransiska then resurrected Kleora as Prelo, a startup that lets people buys and sell “pre-loved” secondhand items.

Andreas Thamrin (Head of ecommerce at Migme)

Andreas Thamrin. Image credit: Twitter.

Andreas Thamrin. Image credit: Twitter.

Andreas is another ecommerce powerhouse. His startups, Shopdeca and Sportdeca mostly deal with branded items from Southeast Asian and International designers: Shopdeca sells urban lifestyle wear, whereas Sportdeca sells sports equipment. When both companies got acquired by Migme, Andreas became the social networking app’s head of ecommerce for Indonesia.

Lingga Madu and Ariza Novianti (Co-founders of Sale Stock)

Husband and wife duo Lingga and Ariza founded Sale Stock in late 2014. The startup launched a mobile app to sell consistently affordable women’s clothing. Sale Stock made news recently for having to lay off 220 people, but its been able to gain popularity in the Indonesian market, securing a position in the Indonesian Play Store’s top 10 apps in the shopping category.

Transport and Travel

Nadiem Makarim (Co-founder, CEO of Go-Jek)

Nadiem Makarim (right), founder and CEO of Go-Jek, pictured last year at Tech in Asia Jakarta.

Nadiem Makarim (right), founder and CEO of Go-Jek, pictured last year at Tech in Asia Jakarta.

Go-Jek is Indonesia’s ride-hailing app that turned into an on-demand platform for various services. Nadiem built and led the company from scratch in 2010 and developed it to a startup worth over a billion dollars. It recently secured US$550 million in funding from the likes of KKR, Sequoia Capital, and Rakuten Ventures.

Ferry Unardi (Co-founder, CEO of Traveloka)

Traveloka co-founder and CEO Ferry Unardi

Traveloka co-founder and CEO Ferry Unardi

Ferry Unardi co-established Traveloka as a MBA dropout from Harvard Business School. His once questionable decision became his grandest success to date. Traveloka managed to build its way up and is currently Indonesia’s go-to flight and hotel booking application after four solid years of business, securing a seed round from East Ventures and series A from Global Founders Capital.

Natali Ardianto (CTO of Tiket)


Natali Ardianto: co-founder, Tiket.

Natali Ardianto co-founded Tiket in 2011 after struggling in two previous ventures. Living proof that the third time’s a charm, Tiket has bootstrapped its way into a trusted online booking system for plane and train tickets, concerts and hotel deals. In 2014, the company was reported to be mulling an IPO, but so far hasn’t followed through on it.

Melieyana Tjioe (Founder, CEO of Gogonesia)

Melie Gogonesia

Melieyana Tjioe, founder and general manager of Gogonesia.

In 2013, Melieyana founded Gogonesia, a startup offering holiday deals and packages for Indonesians who want to travel locally or abroad. She had experience working in the finance sector in Australia prior to focusing in the travel industry. Gogonesia is still pushing on in its third year of business, after completing the Ideabox accelerator in 2014.

Financial Technology

Nabilah Alsagoff (founder, COO of Doku)


Nabilah Alsagoff, founder and COO of Doku

Nabilah established the first startup handling online payments in Indonesia. She said she went through many sleepless nights to convince Indonesian government and banks to trust her startup. Doku was established in 2007 and now has an impressive clientele base, including Air Asia, Sinar Mas Land, and Oppo.

Ryu Suliawan (CEO of Midtrans)

Ryu Kawano Suliawan.

Ryu Kawano Suliawan.

Veritrans, Midtrans’ main product, is another payment gateway that’s been pushing the envelope in Indonesia’s fintech sector since 2012. Fast forward four years, and the fintech space has become much more advanced, with Veritrans one of many players trying to solve online payments.

J.P. Ellis (founder, CEO of CekAja)

J.P. Ellis. Photo credit: Qerja.

J.P. Ellis. Photo credit: Qerja.

An American entrepreneur, J.P. Ellis started multiple ventures in Indonesia before establishing CekAja, a website to compare and sign up for financial products, including personal loans, credit cards, and deposits. CekAja is a pioneer of its kind in the Southeast Asian market, recently having raised a series B round lead by Telstra Ventures – the first startup in Southeast Asia to get funded by the Australia-based VC.


Veronika Linardi (Founder, CEO of Qerja)

Veronika Linardi at Tech in Asia conference.

Veronika Linardi at Tech in Asia conference.

Veronika is a powerhouse with extensive experience in human resources management. She co-established Qerja in 2014 as a platform where users can transparently share information about their jobs, such as salary. The startup managed to raise its Series A with an 8 digit valuation in less than a year of business.

Benson Kawengian (Co-founder, CEO of Urbanhire)

Urbanhire team, L to R: Jepri Sinaga, Benson Kawengian, and Hengki Sihombing. Photo credit: Tech in Asia Indonesia

Urbanhire team, L to R: Jepri Sinaga, Benson Kawengian, and Hengki Sihombing. Photo credit: Tech in Asia Indonesia

Urbanhire serves as a tool to simplify the hiring process for companies and job applicants. Benson co-founded the startup with Jepri Sinaga and Hengki Sihombing in 2015. The startup has closed seed funding with RMKB Ventures and is on its way up to bridge companies and their potential employees.

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Joshua Kevin (Founder, CEO of Talenta)



From left: Grace Tahir of Dokter.id, Joshua Kevin of Talenta, Willson Cuaca of East Ventures.

Tech in Asia alum Joshua Kevin founded Talenta in 2014, wanting to create a human resources management system that can handle processes such as payroll and attendance. Talenta has a prominent list of clients, such as Go-Jek, CekAja, and H&M Indonesia. Fenox Venture Capital and East Ventures are some of the investors in this startup.

Else Fernanda and Afia Fitriani (Founders of Gadjian)

Up in competition with Talenta is Gadjian, a SaaS startup that raised seed funding from Golden Gate Ventures. Husband and wife duo Else Fernanda and Afia Fitriani established this startup back in 2015. It currently counts startups like HijUp and government agencies as clients.

Ahmad Gadi (Founder, CEO of Pawoon)

Ahmad Gadi (center). Photo credit: Buahbibir.

Ahmad Gadi (center). Photo credit: Buahbibir.

Ahmad Gadi founded Pawoon as a startup offering cloud-based cashier services. It was part of the Ideabox accelerator in 2014 and went on to raise funding from Kejora Ventures. Ahmad was a financial analyst before switching gears to startup building.

Indrasto Budisantoso (Founder, CEO of Jojonomic)

Indrasto Budisantoso, Jojonomic co-founder and CEO.

Indrasto Budisantoso, Jojonomic co-founder and CEO.

Financial management app Jojonomic simplifies a company’s reimbursement processes. Indrasto founded the company in 2015 and last raised a US$1.5 million series A round led by Maloekoe Ventures. Jojonomic has a client base of over 40 companies, some of them familiar startups like Go-Jek and Lazada.


Steven Kim (CEO, co-founder of Qraved)

Steven Kim

Steven Kim, co-founder and CEO of Qraved

Steven co-founded Qraved initially with the aim to create the Yelp of Southeast Asia. It’s now a site for restaurant discovery, food related content, and table booking. Prior to setting up Qraved in Indonesia, the Korean entrepreneur was part of Zalora’s founding team in Singapore. Qraved ingested US$8 million in its series B round last year.

Krishnan Menon (Co-founder, CEO of Fabelio)

Fabelio is a startup that sells furniture online to Indonesian customers. Krishnan Menon, an entrepreneur from India, co-founded the company in 2015. He manages to bring the team a US$2 million series A from the likes of 500 Startups.

Kevin Mintaraga (Founder, CEO of Bridestory)

Kevin Mintaraga

Kevin Mintaraga, CEO of Bridestory

Famously known to livestream Indonesian celebrity Sandra Dewi’s wedding, Bridestory is a startup to look out for. The founder, Kevin Mintaraga established Bridestory in 2014 and quit his job as CEO at XM Gravity digital agency. The startup focuses on celebrating people’s wedding through providing its resources such as venues and vendors. Bridestory secured an undisclosed amount of series A funding back in 2015.


Winston Utomo (Co-Founder of IDN Media, CEO of IDNTimes) and William Utomo (Co-Founder of IDN Media, COO of IDNTimes)


Winston and William Utomo (L-R).

Winston and William Utomo, American-educated brothers who hail from Surabaya, Indonesia, founded IDNTimes to serve entertainment news for digital savvy millennials. Its parent company, IDN Media has now completed its series A funding round led by VC firms like North Base Media and GDP Ventures.

Steve Christian (Co-Founder, CEO of Kapanlagi)

Steve Christian. Photo credit: Merdeka.

Steve Christian. Photo credit: Merdeka.

KapanLagi, a startup and current partner of Singapore’s MediaCorp enterprise, had its roots long embedded in Indonesia’s digital media industry. Steve Christian built the website in 2003 alongside Eka Wiharto and watched KapanLagi grow from a small team of 6 engineers to a company consisting of 400 employees.

Christian Sugiono (Co-Founder, CEO of MBDC Media)

Christian Sugiono, CEO of MBDC.

Christian Sugiono, CEO of MBDC.

A well-known celebrity in the Indonesian showbiz, Christian ventured into digital media in 2011 and co-founded MBDC (MalesBanget Dot Com). It was an idea he’d been harboring ever since his college days in Germany.

Not only has Malesbanget successfully bridged traditional and social media (MBDC collaborated with Youtube and Indonesian TV network GlobalTV by producing a travel series), but also scored series A with 500 Startups and Redbright Partners.

Aulia Halimatussadiah (Founder, CCO of ZettaMedia)

Aulia Halimatussadiah.

Aulia Halimatussadiah.

Aulia, known as Ollie, founded ZettaMedia as a website with inspirational stories from Indonesian millennials. ZettaMedia grew into a digital network consisting of 10 different websites to target segmented communities of Indonesia’s youth. The startup secured funding with Kejora Ventures in 2015.

David Wayne Ika (Founder of Kurio)

David Wayne Ika. Photo credit: GDP Venture.

David Wayne Ika. Photo credit: GDP Venture.

Kurio is an Indonesian news app. Its founder, David Wayne Ika, is also involved with the MerahPutih Incubator. Before establishing Kurio in 2013, David founded Lintas in 2008, a social news website. Kurio managed to secure US$5 million funding from GDP Ventures.

Ken Dean Hadiwinata and Andrew Darwis (Co-founders of Kaskus)


Although both are no longer directly involved with Kaskus, these two co-founders deserve mention because of the impact they’ve had on Indonesia’s online world. Andrew founded Kaskus as a college student in 1999 as a platform for the Indonesian-speaking diaspora. Andrew then partnered with Ken to steer Kaskus in a more professional direction in 2008. It became one of the most frequented sites in Indonesia. Kaskus was recently fully acquired by GDP Ventures.


Novistiar Rustandi (Co-founder, CEO of Harukaedu)

Novistiar Rustandi is also known as Director of Jakarta Founders Institute. Photo credit: Tech in Asia Indonesia.

Novistiar Rustandi is also known as Director of Jakarta Founders Institute. Photo credit: Tech in Asia Indonesia.

Novistiar Rustandi co-founded Harukaedu in 2013. The Google-accelerated startup provides online classes on various subjects including technopreneurship. Novistiar and team have raised funding from prominent names in the edtech industry, including USA’s Pearson Affordable Learning Fund.

Muhammad Iman Usman (Co-founder, Chief of Product and Partnership at Ruangguru)

Co-Founders 2

Belva Devara and Iman Usman, co-founders of Ruangguru.

In early 2016, at the age of 24, Iman Usman co-founded Ruangguru as means to connect students and tutors. Another Google-accelerated startup, Ruangguru has raised two rounds of investments with backing from Venturra Capital and East Ventures. Ruangguru is now managed by Belva Devara, another co-founder, as CEO.

Sabda PS (Co-founder of Zenius)

Sabda PS, founder of Zenius.

Sabda PS, co-founder of Zenius.

Sabda PS co-founded Zenius in 2007 as an addition to Zenius-X, educational material brought out on CD and DVD. The e-learning platform soon became an important part of the company’s strategy to make learning materials accessible to more people. Since 2011, the company is managed by Wisnu Subekti as CEO.

Healthcare and Agriculture

Grace Tahir (Founder of Dokter.id, Co-founder of Medico)

Previously a director at Mayapada hospitals, Grace Tahir (pictured with Joshua Kevin) decided to venture out to medical technology in 2014 by starting Dokter.id and Medico. Grace founded Dokter.id as a consultation startup for patients seeking services from medical professionals. Medico is a cloud-based clinic management software.

Nathanael Faibis (Founder, CEO of AloDokter)

Nathanael Faibis, CEO of Alodokter. Photo credit: Linkedin.

Nathanael Faibis, CEO of Alodokter. Photo credit: Linkedin.

AloDokter is an online health portal. Readers can access quality information about medicine, symptoms, and diseases, or ask a doctor for advice. Nathanael Faibis, a French entrepreneur, started the company in 2014. It recently closed a series A round at US$2.5 million.

Gibran Huzaifah (Founder, CEO of eFishery)

eFishery team

eFishery co-founders, L to R: Muhammad Ihsan, Gibran Huzaifah, Chrisna Aditya.

Gibran always had a passion for the fishery and agricultural industries. He founded eFishery, a smart feeding device for fish and shrimp farms. The Bandung-based startup scored funding from Aqua Spark and Ideosource.

Chintya Francisca (Co-founder of Sikumis)

Chintya Francisca co-founded Sikumis in 2010 as a business-to-business online mall, selling items needed for the agricultural industry, such as farming tools and fertilizer. The Brebes-based startup shifted its gears into business-to-consumer six years later, aiming to close the gap between consumers and farmers.

Who else should Tech in Asia include in this list? Let us know in the comments!

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