Aria is the Director and Chief Risk and Sustainability Officer (CRSO) of Amartha. This financial technology startup focuses its mission on providing affordable financial access and mentorship for women micro-entrepreneurs living in rural areas where a conventional financial system is not available. Operating as a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform, Amartha has disbursed more than USD 275 million (Rp. 3,1 trillion) working capital to more than 600,000 women borrowers. In a conversation with us, Aria tells us about his motivation to join the AsiaBerlin network as an Ambassador and how he sees the potential of connecting two vibrant startup ecosystems – Indonesia and Berlin.
What has been your motivation to contribute to the AsiaBerlin community
Indonesia is the biggest internet economy in Southeast Asia and has the highest number of startups. However, this potential is unknown to the outside world. Through the AsiaBerlin community, I hope I can introduce and connect startup ecosystems in Indonesia with counterparts in Berlin and EU communities. More specifically, I hope that the connection built between Asia and Berlin will improve competitiveness as Indonesia and the Southeast Asian countries have various challenges in financial sectors, education, transportation, clean energy, etc. On the other hand, Berlin and Germany have all the frontier technology and source of capital that could contribute to solving the problems innovatively.
Please share something about your experience as an AsiaBerlin Ambassador and how has it helped you or vice versa?
When I first join the AsiaBerlin Summit in 2018, I met with multiple stakeholders during the conference, from Government officials, venture capitals, fellow startup hustlers, and also academia. It was really eye-opening event where I could benchmark what is happening in the world relative to what I have at home. The follow-up roadshow organized by the AsiaBerlin to the Philippines and India was also a great networking initiative where I met with fellow entrepreneurs and innovators that inspired many improvement ideas in my company. On the same roadshow, Jakarta was also the host city where we have the opportunity to showcase our startup scene and connect Berlin’s representative to Jakarta’s Government and private stakeholders.
What are the most attractive aspects of the Indonesian Startup Ecosystem?
Jakarta has many young creative entrepreneurs. Combined with huge market demand, the scaling opportunity is wide open. In the area of fintech alone, more than 150 startups were established during 2016-2020, of which some 20% of them were well-funded at series B or beyond, with strong double digit growth annually. Other sectors such as creative industries, like food and beverages, fashion, software solutions are also flourishing, thanks to younger population and the strong influence of social media that strengthen the brand awareness and help stimulate demand.
What are the areas/questions for which the community should reach out to you?
Areas which the community can reach out to me are definitely fintech and the Indonesian financial regulatory environment. I also have a strong background in banking and microfinance as well as development areas such as women empowerment. I will be leading the Indonesian delegation of private and public sectors on the women empowerment issue at G20 as the Advocate of G20 Empower when Indonesia takes the leadership of G20 next year in 2022.