Fandayani Soesilo: Bridging Inventors and Investors

HOLDING a high position in the private sector is not the be-all and end-all for Fandayani Soesilo. “I can still do more than just earn a salary. What’s more, there is huge potential in Indonesia,” she said.

The former executive at various major companies is of the opinion that there are many creative ideas in the country that can be developed further, and that investors are needed to help expand the ideas into a worldwide business. That is one of the reasons she established Maetrika, which is a private “incubator” that bridges inventors who create inventions and investors to form new companies.

“What we do is set up and develop new companies in Indonesia by offering business support service, seek investment sources and give access to the network of strategic partners both at the domestic and the international level,” explained Fandayani, or Fanda.

Fanda, who was born in Surabaya in 1971, believes there is huge potential for the making of new entrepreneurs here. In view of the approximately US$550 billion gross domestic product (GDP) in 2009, Indonesia ranks third in Asia’s fast economic development and is Southeast Asia’s largest economy.

Indonesia, which has a population of 234 million, emerged unscathed from the global economic crisis due to its dependency on domestic consumption, which has helped spur its economic growth. Although there was a slowdown in growth from 6 percent in 2007 to 4.5 percent in 2009, the figure is still higher than that of most neighboring countries, so together with India and China as members of the G20, Indonesia recorded economic growth even during the global economic crisis.

The World Bank and the IMF predict the figure will increase to 5.6 percent in 2010 and 6 percent in 2011, while reports by Standard Chartered indicate that Indonesia’s economic growth in the near future will rise further as the GDP per capita will be four times as much in 2020.

“The country’s solid economy, stable political climate and the numerous efforts by the government to step up investment in Indonesia provide vast opportunities and challenges for investors and inventors in creating useful things for the nation and the world,” said Fanda, who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering and materials science and engineering from the University of California at Berkeley in 1995.

This reality and all these facts have made Fanda, who is considered to be innovative and result oriented, quite obsessive. So, with a number of friends who also graduated in the US, she established Maetrika, the brand name of PT Emanur Pelangi Indonusa Indonesia, in August 2009.

Her mission is crystal clear. “Based on the conceptors of Maetrika’s system, we would like to provide value to stakeholders who can contribute to the Indonesian economy,” said Fanda, who has behind her 15 years’ work experience in Silicon Valley, the US and was directly involved in the research and making of patents in the telecommunication field. She is also the conceptor of the commercialization of mobile internet in Indonesia with the EV-DO Rev.A basis.

Before setting up Maetrika, Fanda was the head of corporate and data solutions at PT Smart Telecom Indonesia (2008 – 2009). Prior to that she held top positions at a number of companies, namely chief commercial and operations officer at PT Asia Towers International, general manager at PT Abhimata Citra Abadi, vice president of PT Ekaprasarana Primatel and senior product manager at Lam Research.

When she returned to Indonesia in 2005, she saw a huge potential in finance and human resources that she felt should be fully developed in order to make a significant contribution to the country’s economic development. She discovered that there were many young people who were highly talented and creative and could create workable innovative ideas. “Unfortunately no one was willing to facilitate them and turn their creative ideas into acceptable products or to make it into a sustainable business,” she commented.

Fanda noticed that investors preferred to invest in conventional business or trade as well as in the exportation of commodities rather than take risks with products that were unknown to the public. “Some of them even invested their money in other countries, which means that the country’s GDP will go down,” she said.

Maetrika has created a new system concept that provides added value to all stakeholders, meaning investors, inventors, the public or community and the nation. The three basic pillars of Maetrika are Inventor, Maetrika and Investor.

Maetrika provides synergy in establishing a brand new business that starts with an idea or an innovation. “Maetrika provides its services to the new company from the establishment phase up to the time that the company can run independently,” explained Fanda.

According to Fanda, Maetrika is not a management consultancy because it is actively involved from the initial stage in finding an inventor, preparing the business plan, seeking the right investor, setting up the company and running its operations up to the exit strategy after the “incubation” period is over. “This is different from the ‘incubator’ period for small and medium enterprises, which only provides the capital or finances without actually fully assisting the development of the company and its products or the market positioning of its products,” she said.

In Fanda’s opinion, one of the sectors with rapid growth is digital media marketing along with its numerous innovations in programs and applications, such as instant messaging and live chatting.

As there are not many investors in this sector and at the same time the innovators do not have access to develop their creations further, Fanda felt it was necessary to establish a private company to act as a bridge between the two parties.

Fanda said that using Maetrika’s services gave a company a legal guarantee for original Indonesian creations. “Until recently, our innovations were often patented by foreign companies so we have been at the losing end. By using our ‘incubator’ concept, we lock it up or secure it legally as an original Indonesian creation,” said Fanda, adding that next to digital media marketing Maetrika also focuses on the development of environmentally friendly technology, agriculture and energy.

Maetrika has developed the following startups: Beomee, which is a service provider for digital media marketing based on instant messaging, and Belibu, a service provider for online classified ads. Maetrika will soon launch another five companies this year. The business value of each project is at least $1 million.

Fanda believes that bringing future technology to current usage will create a new era for the country’s development in technology, culture and the economy. All this will start with the development of potential and innovative businesses to be developed by Maetrika and assisted for maximum growth during the startup stage when the new company is still vulnerable.

“We intend to develop companies that are sustainable, profitable, socially and environmentally responsible and that can attract venture capitalists, corporate investors or initial public offering (IPO) as well as create more employment opportunities to create a better quality of life for our people,” said Fanda, whose hobbies include diving, golf, cooking, traveling and dancing. (Burhan Abe)

The Jakarta Post, August 11, 2010

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