Indonesian equity platform Ajaib becomes country’s latest unicorn

JAKARTA – Ajaib, an Indonesian investment app similar to the United States’ Robinhood, said on Monday that it had become the country’s last unicorn after raising $ 153 million in its Series B funding.

Ajaib’s status as a unicorn – a private company valued at over $ 1 billion – comes just three years after its founding and reflects the growth of Indonesia’s retail investment sector. Ajaib claims it is “the fastest startup to achieve unicorn status in Southeast Asia.”

The startup raised a total of $ 243 million in 2021, including $ 90 million in its Series A round in March. A number of investors in the last round have also invested in Robinhood, including DST Global, Ribbit Capital, ICONIQ Capital and IVP.

Other investors include the venture capital arm of Japanese group SoftBank, Horizon Ventures of Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing and Alpha JWC, a local venture capital firm.

Ajaib allows users to buy and sell company stocks and mutual funds on its app. While it does not offer commission-free trading like Robinhood, its fees are lower than those of its competitors, which are usually the trading platforms of local securities firms. It also claims to be the first online broker in Indonesia to remove minimum capital requirements for its users.

There were 2.6 million retail equity investors in Indonesia at the end of August, according to the Indonesia Stock Exchange; Ajaib said he was 1 million. It also states that the majority of its users are Millennials and Gen Z, who are first-time investors.

Anderson Sumarli, co-founder and CEO of Ajaib, said in a statement that the startup will use the funds raised to “massively recruit product and engineering talent from the region and launch products to attract more investors for the first time. “.

Indonesia has seen a rapid increase in these investors in recent months, thanks to the growth of Ajaib and other investment platforms, as well as people having more free time at home due to social restrictions in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. Retail investors accounted for 59% of the value of transactions on the IDX in the eight months ending August, down from just 37% in 2019, according to the exchange.

While the IDX has always wanted more retail investors in a country with a 1% equity investor penetration rate, the surge poses challenges for it and trading platforms as they attempt to balance the maintenance of the country’s capital markets with educating novice investors about the risks of trading.

Sumarli from Ajaib told Nikkei Asia in a recent interview that as part of its “mission to democratize investing”, it provides comprehensive stock analysis to “help newbies learn and better understand investing” .

The growth of retail investors this year “is just the beginning of a generation of investors, a generation that understands the importance and benefits of investing,” Sumarli said. “At Ajaib, we take this responsibility seriously and have invested a lot of resources to help educate our users on how to invest responsibly and appropriately. “

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