Agung Nugroho, one of Indonesians most successful young entrepreneurs

Welcome back to Career Champion! AIYA celebrates the contributions of those who provide inspiration and enhance understanding between Australians and Indonesians through Career Champion series. This week we present you our inspiring persona, Agung Nugroho, a young entrepreneur and co-founder of KUDO who spoke at City of Sydney Entrepreneurship Program. Agung shared his views to AIYA on how the tech business is revoluting in South East Asia and why he thinks Australia is missing out!

Q: Can you tell us about yourself?

My name is Agung Nugroho, I’m one of the founders of KUDO and currently acting as Chief Operating Officer (COO). I studied at Haas Business School, Berkeley and earned my MBA there. Previously, I worked as a Consultant at The Boston Consulting Group as well as working at the Global Shapers Community in Jakarta as a Curator.

Q: Can you introduce us to KUDO?

KUDO (Kios Untuk Dagang Online/E-commerce’s Kiosks) is a super app that connects more than 1.4 million Indonesians into transactions. Empowering through the internet, KUDO allows unbanked citizens to do business (buy or sell) a large range of products with as small as Rp10.000 or approximately $1 as their capital in the app.

Q: Can you tell us a little about the initial idea or early career?

KUDO began as a classroom idea, initiated with my classmate Albert Lucius when we were doing our MBA. The idea was to create an application that is much larger than just doing business. We wanted to create a platform that boosts people’s productivity and that’s where the idea of maximising Indonesians productivity. We wanted to help by providing tech for traditional retailers to reach customers they didn’t know exist.

Q: What is so special about KUDO and how does it help people?

We need to understand that Indonesia is a large archipelagos country with as many as 40 million people living unbanked, hence, there is a huge gap in the market that no one serves. This population who don’t have access to banking have rather low productivity and make small profits through cash-based business when they have the potential to reach a bigger market and higher productivity. We saw this opportunity and realised we could earn their trust and serve this middle-low population that has huge power on their own. Instead of fighting over the online community, we enlarge to the offline clients.

By KUDO being the part of them daily, we elevate their earnings, boost their productivity, and increase their livelihood.

Q: What are your key skills and advantages for success?

I’d have to say a problem-solving mentality and a little touch of luck. When KUDO was founded in 2014, it was a perfect timing for a tech start-up to launch in the Indonesian market.

Q: Knowing that 60% of Indonesia’s population is a productive age which makes up around 150 million people, do you think that Indonesian’s human resources are ready for the digital age or we are only made up for the market?

I’m really positive, I believe we are the player in the market (Southeast Asia and Asia). We have the opportunity, with our population, we are the centre of the market and we will see many local start-ups who will take part in their innovative work. We can be the winner and take over the competition.

Q: In your own experience, as an Entrepreneur, what are the major obstacles when launching a start-up and do you think the Indonesian government law enforcement is practical and supporting entrepreneurship?

Entrepreneurship will always be a step ahead of the government regulations and that’s when the government regulators play their part. In my experience, I can say that the Indonesian government is always listening and catches up with the market needs. There have been many changes happening in the recent years and progressively we will eventually have the system.

Q: How do you think KUDO can reach out to the consumers or producers in Australia?

I’m here to share my experience and the good news that many may never hear of. We’re often only exposed to American and Chinese prospects, but only 6 hours away in Southeast Asia (especially Indonesia), a huge shift is taking place and I hope many Australians don’t overlook the opportunity. In conquering Southeast Asia market there is only one way: to win the Indonesian market, we made up 80% of the market. Indonesia and Australia bilaterally in a great position and if we can attract Australian’s talents and capitals, we can create a solid partnership.

Q: To Indonesia youth who are reading this, what would you say to them?

Come back home, be the part of this exciting time and there is no better place to spend your time at.

Keep an eye out on Career Champion for a more inspiring talk in the coming weeks!