As an investment platform in Indonesia, Stockbit has a dual mandate: to increase the country’s financial literacy rate as well as financial access inclusion in order to amass more retail investors. According to East Ventures Digital Competitiveness Index 2021, the pandemic has provided momentum for fintech players to foster a batch of first-time investors through technology.
Only two out of five Indonesians have adequate financial literacy, according to a 2019 survey by the Financial Services Authority (OJK). The survey, which involved 12,773 respondents aged 15 and above in 34 provinces in Indonesia, reported 38.03% of literacy rate. Although this might seem low, the 2019 literacy rate had actually increased from that of 2016 at 29.7%.
The low literacy rate is what motivated co-founders Wellson Lo, Sigit Kouwagam, and Johny Susanto to build investment platform and social media network Stockbit. When Stockbit was founded in 2013, which was the first time OJK conducted the literacy rate survey, the literacy rate in Indonesia was at 21.8%.
“When we first started Stockbit and Bibit, we realized that there’s still a huge gap in Indonesian citizens’ financial literacy. This fact also affects the low level of financial inclusion amongst the more than 280 million population in Indonesia. We realized that one of the major reasons is that there’s a lack of well-managed or proper retail investment products available to the community,” said CEO of Stockbit, Sigit Kouwagam.
Stockbit and Bibit position themselves as Indonesia’s #InvestmentHelper, by bringing investment products that are available and easy to use. Stockbit and Bibit hope to continue spreading awareness, educating, and promoting financial literacy for Indonesians to invest and manage their wealth better.
Stockbit team members (Photo courtesy of Stockbit)
Stockbit’s investor community
The investment platform started out as a social network for beginner investors to bridge the knowledge gap between retail investors and institutional investors in Indonesia. Stockbit’s co-founders aim to empower retail investors by providing aggregated news, information, and analytic tools that might help them make better investment decisions. The social network features also allow users to share information or ideas from Stockbit to other social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
Now, more than 500,000 investors have joined Stockbit’s social network, making it the country’s largest social forum of stock investors. The strong community eventually leads to the creation of Stockbit’s online stock investing app. Through the online trading platform, users can discuss, analyze, and trade stocks with thousands of real traders and investors. In 2019, Stockbit acquired mutual funds platform app Bibit, and then equipped Bibit with an AI-based robo advisor to help first-time investors.
Stockbit’s investor community and its analytics feature and Bibit’s robo advisor are geared towards the specific need of Indonesian investors. With low national financial literacy level and unequal access to information, retail investors rely on the news and analytics in Stockbit and Bibit’s platform.
“As a large country, there’s still a disparity between literacy in first-tier cities like Jakarta and Surabaya, as compared to other areas in Indonesia. That’s why with the help of digital and social media, Stockbit and Bibit hope to always make the information and education accessible for all citizens in Indonesia,” said Sigit.
Empowering people through financial literacy
Stockbit and Bibit have served more than 1 million retail investors from more than 500 cities in Indonesia, from Banda Aceh to Jayapura. Currently, 68% of the users are based in Java (including 12% in Jakarta), 17% in Sumatra and the rest are in Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Maluku, and Papua.
For Stockbit, the increase of users is not only for the benefit of the platform but also for the level of financial literacy in the country. “We are tackling the challenge [of low financial literacy] by creating an app that is easy to be used by all kinds of users, not only those who are digitally savvy but those with a willingness to start investing for their future, regardless of their backgrounds,” said Wellson Lo, Co-founder and CPO of Stockbit.
As an #InvestmentHelper, Stockbit always provides solutions to the needs of users’ financial future. The latest innovations, such as Goal Setting, Autodebit, and Customer Support service make it convenient for users to have the habit of continuous saving and investing. Goal Setting feature enables users to track and achieve their financial goals such as emergency funds, wedding planning funds, education funds, etc. Autodebit is a recurring investment feature in partnership with Gopay AutoPay. Lastly, the 24/7 Customer Support service is ready to help and guide users on investing, any time of the day. It allows users to ask questions regarding investing whenever they want.
“We hope to continually increase the numbers and reach more investors from all cities in Indonesia, aligned with our belief that everyone deserves to have a better future. And with that being said, our role to achieve that is to keep increasing financial inclusion and encouraging Indonesian citizens to build the right investing habit,” said Sigit.
Sigit shared a story of one user who started investing because of Stockbit’s social media content. She has reached her first Rp 10 million by investing 50% of her earnings in Bibit. After experiencing the benefit of investing herself, she brought 10 of her friends to Bibit so that they too can start managing their wealth and building the right investing habit.
Picking up momentum amid pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has provided a unique momentum for Stockbit and Bibit. As more people are staying at home, they begin to learn about the capital market and join as first-time investors. In East Ventures Digital Competitiveness Index 2021 report, Indonesian Stock Exchange (BEI) and Indonesian Central Securities Depository (KSEI) reported that the number of retail investors increased in 2020, from 2.48 million of Single Investor Identification (SID) in December 2019 to 3.87 million SID in 2020. The trend continued in early 2021, with 5 million registered investors as of April 2021.
As investment platforms, Stockbit and Bibit also experienced massive growth amid the pandemic. Stockbit saw its users more than doubled in a year, with Bibit experiencing around 5x user growth within the same period.
Thanks to the traction amid pandemic, Stockbit successfully raised US$ 95 million of new funding in 2021.
“Retail investors have been breathing life into the stock market in Indonesia and all over the world. Then the pandemic propelled it through accelerated online adoption. Stockbit has successfully capitalized on this trend, and if they continue to execute well, the future is bright for them. EV-DCI data in each province are mostly in line with Stockbit and Bibit user growth in those provinces. Their role in accommodating the participation of retail investors through Stockbit and Bibit platforms have contributed to the improvement in EV-DCI scores in most provinces,” said David Fernando Audy, Operating Partner of East Ventures.
“Going forward with this momentum we believe that more Indonesian is starting to invest in capital market products, therefore, we continuously improve our product based on the user experience and we hope that this flock of new investors will be Stockbit and Bibit users,” said Sigit.