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Jakarta Post

'€™Slipicon Valley'€™ new hub for startups

  • Sita W. Dewi

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, August 20, 2015   /  04:57 pm
'€™Slipicon Valley'€™ new hub for startups Slipicon dreaming: Employees work at KejoraHQ in Slipi, West Jakarta, on Wednesday. Companies at the headquarters wish to make the so-called Slipicon Valley a startup hub in Greater Jakarta.(JP/Jerry Adiguna) (JP/Jerry Adiguna)

Slipicon dreaming: Employees work at KejoraHQ in Slipi, West Jakarta, on Wednesday. Companies at the headquarters wish to make the so-called Slipicon Valley a startup hub in Greater Jakarta.(JP/Jerry Adiguna)

Nobody knows how the term '€œSlipicon Valley'€, a wordplay on California'€™s famous Silicon Valley, first came up.

'€œIt'€™s a joke among [local] startups that set up their headquarters in Slipi. We have no idea who actually started it,'€ Karen Kamal, manager at venture capital investor Mountain Kejora, said in Jakarta recently.

Mountain Kejora set up its headquarters, called KejoraHQ, at Wisma Barito Pacific in Slipi, West Jakarta. The KejoraHQ is also home to more than 20 local startup companies, including, Qerja and CekAja. Qerja and CekAja managed to expand their businesses and decided to rent bigger spaces on different levels in the same building.

Outside the KejoraHQ, more than 30 startup companies, digital agencies and venture capital firms have chosen Slipi for their office addresses, making the area a popular choice for digital companies aspiring to develop and rise. Successful startups like online fashion store Berrybenka, marketplaces Tokopedia and Blibli, as well as travel store Traveloka, have also set up headquarters in the area.

'€œWe prefer Slipi because it is close to the business district, but still affordable,'€ said Karen, who co-founded the website, a directory of the digital companies in the area.

'€œWe dream that Slipi will become a hub for local billion-dollar companies in the future, just like Silicon Valley,'€ Karen added.

Another startup tower in the area is Grand Slipi Tower, which houses Berrybenka and Bilna, and previously Traveloka.

'€œWe moved to Wisma 77 early this year and a few months later Tokopedia, through the founders'€™ connection, moved into the same building,'€ Traveloka head of marketing Dannis Muhammad.

Traveloka occupied two floors in the Wisma 77 Tower B building, employing more than 300 recruits '€” around 100 of whom are IT engineers.

Just like how Silicon Valley is close with top US universities such as Stanford, Slipi is also close to a number of top private universities in Jakarta, such as Binus, Trisakti and Tarumanagara '€” another advantageous feature for the companies.

'€œIt is easier for us to tap into talent,'€ Dannis said.

Several startup founders and managers acknowledged that the digital industry had become even more popular among university students and fresh graduates, so firms were encouraged to offer the best work atmosphere to lure the best talent.

'€œWe hire interns all the time and we will eventually recruit the best interns to become full-time staffers,'€ WeYap cofounder Kelly Oktavian said at his office.

For a new startup like WeYap, which has existed for a year, being connected to other firms in the field is important for its future.

'€œEven though each startup is different to others in terms of sense of business, we can still share progress and connect to each other. It'€™s also advantageous to be close to agencies and venture capital firms,'€ Kelly said.

Startup company recently moved to the Wisma 77 building for a similar reason.

'€œOur other startups were already there so we decided to move offices to be closer to each other for the sake of efficiency,'€ said Danny Oei Wirianto, the chief marketing officer of GDP Venture, a holding group that oversees 20 companies including Opini, Kurio, Dailysocial and Mindtalk.

Leighton Cosseboom, a business writer with Tech in Asia, pointed out that Jakarta would remain the capital of the country'€™s digital industry.

'€œIt'€™s true that the tech sector is stacked up in Jakarta. It will never get up and move to another city, but other cities will surely grow their own tech scenes.

'€œIt does help to have these places all in the same neighborhood, as it will make it easier for investors and stakeholders from out of town to visit several companies and venture capital firms all in one day [...] business activities and investment deals can happen faster,'€ he said.

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