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Expanding all the way from Myanmar, UMG Idealab shares its plans for startups in Indonesia

UMG Idealab is a corporate venture capital of UMG Myanmar, a manufacturer and distributor of agricultural heavy equipment

UMG Idealab aims to invest in up to 20 early stage startups in Indonesia next year. In an email interview with e27, UMG Idealab Managing Partner Achmad Syaefi revealed that the corporate venture capital (CVC) firm is looking for startups in the internet-of-things (IoT), big data, voice recognition, and artificial intelligent verticals.

“The startups got to be innovative and [their work] got to have a social impact. We are also in favour of startups that help small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) digitised their work process, such as Aruna and Crowde,” he explains.

Aruna and Crowde are two of the 11 Indonesian startups that the firm has already invested in from their fund; Aruna raised a seed funding round in April 2017 while Crowde raised their funding round as recently as last October.

Though they declined to reveal the exact size of their fund, UMG Idealab plans to invest between US$50,000 and US$1 million in each startup.

According to Syaefi, there are several benefits that the firm can provide to the startups who are working with them.

“Coaching, networking with shareholders such as VCs, startups, and incubators, as well as expansion to Asian countries,” he says.

From Myanmar to Indonesia

UMG Idealab’s story began in Myanmar as one of the subsidiaries of UMG Myanmar, a producer and distributor of agricultural heavy equipment. Currently run by a team of 5,000 employees, the company is one of the biggest companies operating in the country.

Seeing the impressive growth of Southeast Asian tech industry, UMG Myanmar Founder Kiwi Aliwarga then initiated the founding of UMG Idealab. UMG Idealab’s business lines are being divided into two parts: An incubator in Myanmar that helps startups begin their businesses, and a CVC in Indonesia that helps startups with seed funding investments.

In his email, Syaefi dubs UMG Idealab as a sector-agnostic CVC, though startups in the agritech sector do have a special value for them. In addition to Indonesia and Myanmar, the firm is also investing in startups in Thailand.

In Indonesia, apart from Aruna and Crowde, UMG Idealab has also invested in agritech startup MSMB, voice recognition platform Bahasakita, chatbot platform Botika, online book store Bukku, healthcare marketplace Prosehat, human capital management platform Netis, food products e-commerce platform Total Agri Mart, on-demand homecare service Perawatku, and air taxi service Frogs, which is currently under development.