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© Treasury

Gold savings online platform Treasury targets a younger demographic with its playful and contemporary branding

For decades, buying and selling gold has been the livelihood of many Indonesians, especially first- and second-generation Chinese-Indonesians. In recent years, however, a wider variety of people have been attracted to investing in gold. The surge of local startups specializing in this field – MasDuit, Indogold, Tamasia and Pluang, to name a few – attest to the trend. 

Another such platform, Treasury, was established just over a year ago. Its founder, Dian Supolo, thinks there is a reason for the rise in gold investment startups.

“Indonesia has a strong tradition when it comes to gold,” she told CompassList. “You hear stories about how mothers pass down their gold jewelry to their daughters and so forth – the idea of it is very Indonesian. I also own jewelry that has been passed down by my grandmother.”

Supolo left her job as a marketing and communication director at McDonald's Indonesia to start Treasury when she spotted this trend. She is convinced that it is the future mode of saving for a more diverse group of Indonesians, particularly the younger generation.

“I think what makes us unique is our approach to gold and gold savings in general,” she explained. She tries to ensure that Treasury does not feel intimidating to first-time gold investors. “Our branding and communications plays a key role in establishing our core identity. It is much more playful and contemporary; we shy away from being too stiff and formal.”

To achieve that, Treasury continually develops innovative content and marketing to boost its branding, communications and product. “Creativity is an important aspect of our DNA,” Supolo said.

Affordability for beginner, low-risk investors

Treasury isn't only focused on the millennial market though. The company's Head of Brand Development Narantara Sitepu said while the company's creative assets can be interpreted as contemporary, Treasury's goal is to “maintain a balance in our communication with millennials and Gen X-ers. Treasury feels that the throwback-nostalgia aspect is the basis for its creative ideas.” Currently, Treasury's customers consist of 60% millennials and 40% Gen X-ers. 

Supolo concurred, noting, “Our primary target market are those who are literate in both gold savings and technology.”  

To promote gold as a safe haven investment accessible to any investor, Treasury brings down its prices to figures that are affordable for almost everyone. Customers can start buying gold from IDR 20,000 and convert their digital savings into gold bars, starting from 0.5 gram, with the Treasury app. This is a price point that customers would not have found a decade ago, said Supolo who, so far, is the only female CEO in Indonesia's gold fintech sector.

Treasury has certainly resonated with its target market: namely, beginner and low-risk investors.

Josephine, a recently married 27-year-old, said Treasury's advertisements on social media made her aware of how someone her age needed to start investing, and that gold was an obvious answer.

Robert Situmeang, 30, who also married recently, said that he has not invested much, but the low entry-price point Treasury offers has given him the confidence to put in more capital.

“It has been a good experience so far […] Gold is a safe product so I don’t think I have anything to worry about,” says Fajar Yasin, 35 and a father of two.

Long-term gains

Supolo prefers using the term “savings” to “investment” because she sees Treasury as a tool that lets customers reap the benefits of gold in the long term, rather than as a get-rich-quick scheme that cares little for sustainability.

“Indonesia has been bombarded with consumerism these past few years, so we’d like to reinvigorate the long term-ism approach in personal finance,” she said. The company also focuses on transparency, a major concern of many young consumers today who are weary of new digital schemes. To this end, Treasury updates customers of its gold price every minute via its app.

Treasury works with PT Untung Bersama Sejahtera for its gold supply. The startup has also partnered with financial planning platform Finansialku and e-commerece website Ladara Indonesia, and is featured as the gold savings option on the websites of these two companies. 

To differentiate itself further, Treasury also offers a specially designed product, Koin Nusantara (Archipelago Coin in Indonesian), a 24k gold coin inspired by Islamic fabric weaving materials from the Lombok and Padang regions of Indonesia, as well as the dinar currency. The Koin Nusantara comes in limited quantities and is packaged with a certificate of authentication from PT Untung Bersama Sejahtera.

“We feel that it offers an alternative to the usual gold bars that you usually see in the shops,” Supolo said.

Tasa Nugraza Barley, a director at the Indonesian FinTech Association of which Treasury is a member, sees a promising future for companies who offer investment platforms for the younger generations. 

“The number of millennial users has increased significantly in the last few years,” he said. “And even though, value-wise, this market is still lagging behind that of older users, various studies and market data show that financial literacy among the younger generation is increasing.” 

Supolo certainly agrees: “As gold is seen as a safe haven, it will continue to be popular. Our main objective is to push for long-term-ism of financial behavior, and, with it, financial inclusion for all in the future.”

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Edited by Celine Lim

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