In an workplace area large enough for under two desks however not large enough to comprise their ambitions, Jefrey Joe, Chandra Tjan and Will Ongkowidjaja launched their firm in 2015 armed with nothing greater than their intensive expertise, ardour, and drive. Quick ahead 7 years to 2022, they now have a staff of virtually 40 workers between Singapore and Indonesia, and lately raised USD$433m in funding, bringing their complete funding to USD$650m.
No, this isn’t a narrative of a start-up and its founders, that is the story of Alpha JWC Ventures, Indonesia’s first unbiased and institutional VC agency that grew into Southeast Asia’s largest early stage fund.
Founding companions, Jefrey Joe and Chandra Tjan seen that the Indonesian startup scene was effervescent with exercise and nice potential, and thru their networks and conversations, additionally noticed that there have been extra Indonesians taking up 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 VC agency in Indonesia.
With Jefrey Joe and Chandra Tjan each born and bred Indonesians, and so with the preliminary staff, the agency is ready to faucet into its deep and native understanding of the most important economic system in Southeast Asia in terms of investing choices and likewise serving to its portfolio firms .
Quick ahead a couple of years later, not solely has the staff expanded however so has the geography of development, funding and focus – branching out into SEA. The agency now has a base in Indonesia and Singapore, crammed with a staff that boasts regional and international expertise in numerous fields. The expansion was spurred by the burgeoning and blossoming startup scene in Southeast Asia that noticed many unicorns emerge in a shorter time in current occasions. Alpha JWC noticed three of its portfolio firms obtain unicorn standing within the final two years: Ajaib, Kopi Kenangan, and Carro.
The enlargement was not simply geographic. Alpha JWC additionally grew its community ties and has the privilege of working with nice companions comparable to Kearney, Credit score Suisse, AWS, Paypal and high universities throughout the area. It has additionally co-led many fund elevating rounds with different VC corporations comparable to Sequoia, DST, Softbank, and Northstar simply to call a couple of. Naturally then, it now wears the lens of figuring out startups not simply in Indonesia but additionally throughout the area.
The enterprise capital ecosystem is in a extra mature stage now in comparison with about 5 years in the past. Valuation and analysis are extra significant, and there’s extra capital accessible to founders as of late. Off the again of a hotbed of development, innovation and entrepreneurship, Alpha JWC Ventures raised its oversubscribed third spherical of funding in 2021 at USD$433m, bringing its complete AUM to USD$650m, and making it the most important early stage fund in SEA, investing as little as USD$100K in early stage rounds.
However occasions have modified. Founders’ missions usually are not simply to drive income or increase funds, it boils down to creating lasting influence and driving constructive modifications of their societies. It could be simpler to lift funds now in comparison with earlier than, however meaning extra emphasis is now positioned on VC and founder relations, and what different worth provides a VC may give a founder. Funding could be the dealmaker, however the nature and worth of the partnership is the dealbreaker.
This consequently shapes how Alpha JWC makes funding choices and sees its function within the journey of startups it invests in.
Alpha JWC Ventures is a pioneer in its space of worth creation for its portfolio firms since 2015 as a result of it believes that startups want extra than simply capital injection for sustainable development and influence. The agency has a rising sturdy staff in worth creation that works with portfolio firms within the areas of Group Planning, Expertise hiring, Compensation Benchmarking, and Strategic Advertising and marketing & Communications amongst different assist that might profit every startup.
Extra importantly, Alpha JWC can also be the buddy that every founder needs- somebody who’s supportive however equally unabashed in terms of giving suggestions. The groups have tried each dish, each app, each espresso, and each service in order that they may give their most candid/trustworthy suggestions to assist the founders get higher.
Earlier than Alpha JWC makes an funding, it determines a sound valuation of the startup by development projections, monetary feasibility and product market match. The agency does this by a number of information factors and tapping into its deep market understanding and expertise within the Southeast Asia panorama to evaluate if an thought would succeed. Or not.
Nevertheless, a very powerful evaluation usually are not so quantifiable as a result of it focuses on the founder. Nice emphasis is positioned on the founder’s readability of thought and the flexibility to take care of it in all conditions to attain key targets and lead a staff. Within the startup journey that’s fraught with modifications and challenges, the founder’s imaginative and prescient, finesse in taking motion and making robust choices will both steer a startup to success or oblivion.
Living proof. For Indonesian F&B unicorn Kopi Kenangan, the founders have been very clear from the beginning that they needed to construct their very own espresso model by owned bodily retailers with out franchising. They strongly believed that was the best way to regulate product high quality and scale. Nevertheless COVID hit and with Indonesia on a lockdown, footfalls at Kopi Kenangan retailers dropped significantly.
The thought was that having so many bodily shops was a foul thought and COVID ‘proved’ it. Nevertheless as an alternative of shuttering shops totally, the staff as an alternative opened new kiosks close to excessive human visitors locations comparable to fuel stations, and developed new product choices such because the Cerita Roti, Chigo fried rooster, and low cost instantaneous espresso. The flexibility to suppose and adapt shortly but remaining targeted made certain the model continued to see gross sales and make it out of the worst occasions of COVID virtually unscathed.
One other instance of founders displaying readability of thought is one other unicorn, Ajaib. Its founders have been very targeted on serving the underbanked and millennials in Indonesia. That focus spurred them to ship a buying and selling platform that’s extremely straightforward to onboard and use for retail traders. They have been very clear on what wanted to be carried out and easy methods to do it. The end result? They’re one of many quickest to achieve unicorn standing in lower than 3 years.
Apart to capital injection, the largest forex the place worth and price lies is within the mutual belief between Alpha JWC and its portfolio firms. Folks usually neglect that earlier than the funds are invested, there first needs to be belief between each events to imagine that every is the fitting accomplice for one another. The portfolio firm has to belief that Alpha JWC will give its assist and finest efforts to open doorways and assist make issues occur for development, and for Alpha JWC to uphold its integrity in ensuring that the agency does the fitting factor over quick time period positive factors.
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 in the beginning, it continues to be earned in the complete journey of the partnership.
Alpha JWC additionally locations nice belief within the founders it invests in. This explains why it’s an energetic investor in early stage startups since its inception in 2015- roughly 50% of Alpha JWC newly signed firms for its Fund III alone are seed/pre- seed investments. This exhibits nice belief is positioned on the capabilities and imaginative and prescient of the founder over the thought itself since in early levels there often usually are not a lot income or numbers info to evaluate an thought on. As well as, 90% of founders (from Funds I and II) went on to obtain comply with on funding from the agency.
Alpha JWC has its sights set on the Southeast Asian market, and one foot on the accelerator. It believes that that is the golden interval for SEA founders to be on the forefront and for startups to take its place on the worldwide centrestage. Because the agency drives by the ups and downs and lengthy windy roads of entrepreneurship, alongside the best way it hopes to choose up founders who want to make a legacy influence on the planet, and assist drive them to success.