Covid-19 spurs an 18 months leap in Indonesia digital transformation journey, according to Willson Cuaca

9 October 2020

JAKARTA — The physical restrictions and lockdown imposed during the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated digital adoption in Indonesia. Willson Cuaca, Co-founder and Managing Partner of East Ventures, describes this rapid transformation in Topcast by Tokopedia, a podcast hosted by Tokopedia.

The implementation of the strict physical distancing measures, according to Willson, slowed down all high-touch economic activities in Indonesia. For this reason, businesses and consumers have had to adopt various digital platforms to fulfill their needs.

Combined with a strong digital infrastructure that has been built in Indonesia for the past 11 years, the spike of demand for online services spurred an acceleration of the digital transformation in Indonesia during the pandemic.

Over the past 11 years, we have invested consistently in Indonesia to build what is now one of the greatest digital infrastructures in the world.  We have a strong payment solution, a holistic marketplace platform like Tokopedia who aid small merchants in attaining income and we have a strong logistics, last-mile and delivery solution. The preexisting infrastructure allows for consumers to purchase just about anything online. This is the infrastructure we have been building over time.”

Digital momentum

In just a few months, Indonesia experienced an accelerated process of digital adoption that would have probably taken about 1.5 years under normal circumstances. If Indonesia is able to take full advantage of this transformative moment and maintain the momentum, the digitization of this country will be the runway to accelerate the nation’s economic growth in the years ahead.

“If we are able to execute this digitization process well, help consumers and merchants adapt their mindset to the many benefits and efficiencies of adopting technology, there is a high probably that we can become a big nation that is efficient and productive,” Willson said.

In the podcast, Willson also tells the story about what made him decide to get in touch with William Tanuwijaya and Leontinus Alpha Edison to set up a meeting about investing in Tokopedia in 2009. (hint: it had something to do with a t-shirt).

In addition, Willson also discussed how Indonesia’s digital economy became one of the most talked about ecosystems in the world and the 3 qualities that East Ventures actively looks for in founders.

For more, hear the podcast, Topcast by Tokopedia: The Promising Future of Indonesia’s Digital Economy, in Spotify.