Alexander Rusli, the president director of Indosat, speaking on the first day of the third biennial Indosat IDByte, a conference for digital firms and technology start-ups in Indonesia. (JG Photo/Vanesha Manuturi)

Tech Conference IDByte Kicks Off Aiming to Put Indonesia on Global Digital Map

BY :VANESHA MANUTURI

SEPTEMBER 30, 2015

Jakarta. Indosat, the country's third-biggest mobile phone operator, and digital agency Bubu.com on Wednesday started the first day of the third biennial Indosat IDByte, a conference for digital firms and technology start-ups in Indonesia, with the stated aim of helping start-ups in Southeast Asia's largest economy move up the international digital ladder.

"As one of the major telecommunications operator in Indonesia, we believe that digital businesses will be a leading trend of the future. This is aligned with the increase of smartphone penetration and the development of digital business in Indonesia ...We are at that point where it's about to take off," Alexander Rusli, president director of Indosat, said during the opening ceremony of the event in Jakarta.

With an ever-expanding youthful consumer base that is are increasingly tech-savvy, Indonesia's massive population has attracted Internet and technology companies from all around the world.

Still, many have lamented that lacking broadband infrastructure and a scarcity in highly-skilled technology workers often prevent start-ups in the country from gaining national and regional recognition.

Alex noted that Indosat's $50 million venture capital fund with Japan's Softbank, with both pledging in 2014 to support start-ups across Indonesia in the next three years, has found it difficult to select potential companies to thelp. "We haven't even spent half of it. Finding the opportunity is hard," he said.

This is one of the problems that IDByte seeks to tackle in its seminars, said Shinta Dhanuwardoyo, founder of Bubu.com and the brain behind the conference

The three-day event, themed "Digital e-Conomy," aims to help local start-up companies to scale up through a series of seminars with 35 leaders of the digital industry, from homegrown companies like Go-Jek and Bukalapak to Facebook, focusing on the role of technology in the economy in the wake of the country's rapidly growing e-commerce industry.

"So, when people think about Indonesia, I want one of the first things that they think of is that we're a digital country," Shinta said. "Through Indosat IDByte, we want to create an awareness about this insight so we can support Indonesian people to grow through the advancement of technology."

IDByte's seminars will lead to its flagship event on Friday, the Bubu Awards, which is a start-up competition joined by hundreds of start-up companies from across Indonesia vying for an opportunity to meet seasoned tech leaders in Silicon Valley.

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