William Henley, Founder of Tapestrix (right) with e27 Editor, Joash Wee (middle) and Richerd Chan, Hootsuite ex-Mobile Developer (left)
William Henley is a computer geek and investment banker rolled into one. After leaving corporate investment banking world in 2010, William established IndoSterling Group in 2011 as an investment holding company, actively investing in technology, digital media as well as in the consumer goods sector. William founded Otopedia.com, a prominent automotive portal in Indonesia, and Tapestrix (TPX), a customizable, white-label social media platform for communities, corporates & brand owners.
William’s direct & blunt style of writing about Indonesian technology sector has earned him the nickname “Dr. Doom”. And all he has to say about this is, “I am just being realistic.” “Dr Doom” will be part of the panel discussing on Rise of the Emerging Markets at Echelon 2012.
Share with us your experience from your corporate, startup and also investor background.
I have more than 15 years of experience in the financial/capital market sector. I actually have a relatively strong footing in the IT sector, mainly because I used to be a tech-buff during high school. I started teaching programming in high school. Despite my early start in tech, I actually graduated from university with a degree in banking and finance and have spent most of my career in the financial/capital market sector. I started my own investment company after leaving corporate sector in 2010. The technology sector is one of the sectors I have invested in. I also invest in digital media, financial services and consumer sector.
What do you think is the biggest mistake that companies entering Indonesia make in the assumption of the local market?
I think a lot of investors are not familiar with the notion that Indonesia is one huge market that is segmented across an expansive archipelago. A lot of investors look at Indonesia as a market that can be easily penetrated. This kind of mindset / assumptions can become a very costly mistake as it takes a lot of money to conduct effective marketing activities in Indonesia.
When looking to expanding into Indonesia, what key points should companies look out for?
I think companies need to be fully aware of how infrastructures in Indonesia are different from other countries. A lot of things which are taken for granted in Singapore, have not gotten good traction in Indonesia. For instance: robust payment system, logistic infrastructure, broadband internet, etc.
How have you seen the Indonesia startup community mature over the years and what is still needed to continue the growth?
Indonesia startup community is still in its infancy. A lot of things have to take place before it can mature. The community needs to understand that there is no such thing as a quick fix to grow the start-up ecosystem. Things have to evolve gradually, and there is a lengthy process involved. For example, for the financial ecosystem to mature, we need to have an environment where investors can find an exit for their investments. IPO is one of the most sought after exit strategy, but in Indonesia, it is unrealistic for a tech start-up to get listed in the local stock exchange due to existing listing restrictions.
William Henley (Founder of Tapestrix) is one of the awesome speakers at Echelon 2012. This tech conference is a two-day, double-track event on 11 and 12 June 2012 with over 1,100 delegates, a demo pit of up to 50 regional startups per day and various workshops. Get your tickets now!
Link to full article