Goers, a Jakarta-based event ticketing and management startup, has won Indonesia’s HighPitch 2020 startup pitch competition. The five-year-old company came up tops in the national final on November 25, beating nine other finalists from across the country.
“It is a very good sign for the experience industry that even during the pandemic, we can still thrive,” Goers’s COO and co-founder Niki Tsuraya Yaumi said after the event, referring to the hospitality, tourism, destination management and leisure sectors. “We will make sure that we empower more experience businesses in the future."
Another Jakarta-based startup Izy, whose SaaS mobile app is helping hotels build their own online infrastructure and boost ancillary income, was the second-prize winner. Yogyakarta-based CekLab, which offers on-demand laboratory testing and health checkup services, won the third spot. Flexible solar cell startup Flexel, also from Yogyakarta, and Bali-based electric vehicle maker Manouv made up the rest of the top five.
The startups in the top three spots win free credit from payment gateway service Xendit, as well as the chance to join the GK-Plug and Play accelerator program. As regional winners, all 10 finalists are entitled to free credit for Amazon Web Services and the chance to join an accelerator program hosted by Shinhan Future’s Lab, under South Korea’s Shinhan Financial Group. They will also join a two-day investment readiness workshop run by ALTIRA (Alternative Investments Group & Advisory).
HighPitch is jointly organized by Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy (Kemenparekraf/Baparekraf) and investors UMG Idealab and ALTIRA. The online pitch competition, the organizers said, is an "opportunity to help [Indonesia’s] startup ecosystem, by bridging the needs of VCs and startups and fostering collaboration between them." The pitch competitions for the five main geographical areas of Indonesia first ran in the week of November 9, before the regional winners gathered for the grand final on November 25. More than 40 VC firms supported HighPitch with their participation as judges and mentors.
Goers’s nifty pivot
In their pitches during the final, Goers, Izy and CekLab demonstrated their ability to expand their businesses despite – or even because of – the many changes brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Goers, for example, pivoted to providing online infrastructure services for tourist attractions and other offline venues. To ensure that this new income stream is sustainable, the Goers team is focusing on long-term partnerships and contracts with these venue operators, which range from theme parks to tourist villages. Capitalizing on the popularity of online events, the company will also build Goers Space, a virtual event platform aimed at enabling stronger engagement between participants and event organizers.
When asked by Venturra Discovery Managing Partner Raditya Pramana how Goers expected to juggle its wide array of services – from building offline-to-online services for venue operators to offering a wide variety of events in its existing ticketing business – Yaumi, Goers COO, said a self-service dashboard in the Goers platform for event clients allows Goers to focus on its ticketing pillar.
VC investors judging the Jakarta pitch competition on November 10 had commended Goers’s quick adaptation to the new normal and challenges in the leisure sector sparked by Covid. Yudi Tandi Anugrah, Investment Manager at Kejora-SBI Orbit, said he ranked Goers highest among the startups that pitched before him, noting that Goers was a first-mover in helping event organizers migrate online in a traditional, little-digitalized sector.
Growth during Covid
Meanwhile, hotel SaaS Izy managed to add more hospitality clients to its portfolio, gaining a total of nearly 3,000 new rooms since April. CEO and co-founder Gerry Mangentang said that before the pandemic, Izy’s clients mostly comprised luxury and 4-star and above hotels in Bali and Jakarta, but in the more recent months, more budget operators in other Indonesian cities have begun using the SaaS, too.
Izy also expanded regionally through deals with Vietnamese brand The Imperial Hotel, South Korean hotel property management system company Roonets, and Indian hospitality consulting service Ignitize. Mangentang said he is confident that Izy could expand globally because hotels around the world operate with similar procedures and business models.
CekLab has been experiencing explosive growth since Covid-19 testing became a requirement for travel and some business activities. So far this year, it has facilitated 7,500 lab tests for 3,500 patients. The company does not do the actual testing, but send trained nurses and lab technicians to collect samples from patients’ homes, before sending them to partner laboratories.
UMG Idealab CEO Kiwi Aliwarga, who was one of the panel judges, asked CekLab CEO Caesar Givani how the company would maintain quality control as they expand to more cities. In reply, Givani said CekLab currently partners hospitals to provide services and sample collectors in some of the cities where it operates. However, the startup plans to start operations in more cities, and hire and train its own staff to provide the services.
The four other judges on the panel also quizzed the startups on their business strategies. Access Ventures Head of Indonesia Retno Dewati represented the VC side along with Pramana and Aliwarga. Also on the panel were Budiman Wikarsa, Head of Startup Ecosystem at Amazon Web Services Indonesia, and Head of Shinhan Future’s Lab Indonesia James Lee.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of the article misstated UMG Idealab as an organizer of the investment readiness workshop.
CompassList is the official media partner of the HighPitch 2020 National Startup Competition.