Sigit Kouwagam, Co-founder of Bibit and Stockbit
East Ventures


5 April, 2023


Collaborations with various fintech providers: Sigit Kouwagam, Co-Founder of and Stockbit

In 2021, the value of Indonesia’s digital economy has reached USD 63 billion and continues to grow and is expected to reach USD 360 billion in 2030. What important roles do startups have as a catalyst for digital economic growth?

Operationally, startups generally collaborate with other parties in the digital economy ecosystem to deliver services to users. Besides creating new jobs as well as accelerating digitalization in various fields, the existence of startups also adds value to other startups. 

If we are talking about Bibit, we collaborate with various service providers in finance and technology to cater to users. Through the digital-based services that we offer, we help people invest in the capital market easily, safely, and seamlessly. At the same time, we are also supporting the government’s programs in increasing people’s participation in the capital market. According to data released in September 2022 by the Indonesia Central Securities Depository (KSEI), 78.02% from around 9 million mutual fund investors in Indonesia are registered in fintech selling agents such as Bibit. 

The global economy is facing a multidimensional crisis or perfect storm because of global recession, energy crisis, and geopolitical tension. What are Bibit’s strategies for weathering this condition? 

Bibit was established with a vision that every person has the right to a better financial future through the right investments in the capital market. To realize this vision, we help novice investors to start investing through our application which is safe and comfortable to use and developed with technology and creativity. 

Through a variety of educational and communication efforts to users, we provide the fitting knowledge and understanding so that they clearly know the risks they may face and how to mitigate them. 

When it comes to features, at Bibit we have technology based on the Modern Portfolio Theory introduced by economist Harry Markowitz which has been proven to manage risks and maximize investment returns through diversification. We also emphasize the importance of investing for the long term (stay invested) to users and encourage them not to time the market.  From a business perspective, we always apply financial management based on prudential principles. 

In the midst of the perfect storm’s threat to the global economy, how does assess the impact of this situation on Indonesia’s capital market and digital economy? 

The global economy phenomena are usually marked by an imbalance between production and consumption, demand and supply, export and import as well as high inflation. In response to this, we first believe that policies taken by the government through interest rate adjustments, other monetary policies and various fiscal policies are intended to minimize the impact of economic slowdown. 

Secondly, we have to acknowledge that these conditions resulted in a slowdown in the growth of financial performance of companies listed on the exchange. However, at the same time we need to observe that various economic conditions will result in new champions in many sectors. For us, the most important thing is to maintain the public and users’ trust in our services. 

In the midst of rapidly growing digitalization, digital and physical infrastructure are still uneven in Indonesia. How is Bibit taking advantage of this opportunity to promote digital equity and digital economic growth in Indonesia’s tier 2 and 3 regions?

Quoting the results of the 2021-2022 Indonesia’s Internet Survey (Q1) from the Association of Indonesian Internet Service Providers (APJII), Internet penetration of the population has reached 77.02%, which is a significant increase compared to a penetration rate of 64.8% in 2018.

Along with the increase in Internet penetration, we really appreciate the e-KYC policy which is allowed by the regulator. This policy makes it possible for the KYC process to be carried out 100% digitally without users having to be physically present at the office, and has proven to accelerate the growth of Bibit users to reach more than 500 cities in Indonesia. 

What are Bibit’s roles in supporting the government’s efforts to increase financial inclusion and literacy and participation in the capital market? What collaborations has Bibit done and is going to do in the upcoming time? 

We are always collaborating and trying to support the various initiatives of the government and regulators. Some examples of our collaborations and support are as follows: In the 2022 Financial Inclusion Month, Bibit participated by opening a digital booth in the 2022 Capital Market Summit & Expo which is a series of events commemorating the 45th anniversary of the reactivation of Indonesia’s capital market.

In October 2022, Bibit took part in Public Lecture and Investment Chat for the Nation (ORASI) Goes to Campus which was held by Directorate General of Budget Financing and Risk Management (DJPPR) of the Ministry of the Ministry of Finance of Republic of Indonesia which took place in the Islamic University of Indonesia (UII), Yogyakarta. 

In September 2022, Bibit and the Ministry of Finance of Republic of Indonesia also collaborated in an activity titled “Education and Media Gathering Launching of Sharia SBN Series SR017 Bibit” in Denpasar. 

Internally, Bibit is intensifying educational efforts through Bibit Academy, which is intended for people who want to learn more about mutual funds and practice directly. Lessons at Bibit Academy are delivered regularly every month with varying levels of depth such as “Financial Foundations Before Investment”, “Mutual Funds 101”, and “Strategies for Choosing the Right Mutual Funds”.

Resilience depends on the abilities to adapt in various conditions including when disruptions take place. What kinds of business models and digital talents are needed to continuously open new digital economy potentials? 

The required business model to open new digital economy potentials is the one focusing on at least 2 things: first, one that solves problems faced by people. Second, something that can elevate the quality of people’s experience in carrying out their activities. Meanwhile, the required digital talents are those who not only master their areas of expertise, but are also capable of critical thinking, problem-solving, and leadership. 

The agenda for inclusive digital economic growth is also marked by an alignment with SDGs through the application of ESG. How does implement this and what are the challenges? 

There are 3 main goals of SDGs which are relevant to what Bibit does. First, in relation to “Gender Equality”, we apply the same policies in carrying out recruitments and performance reviews so that everyone has the same opportunities to work and thrive here.

Secondly, when it comes to “Decent Work and Economic Growth”, we establish and enforce a positive culture at the workplace through many facilities and initiatives to ensure work safety, professional development, and fair compensations for our employees. Third, in relation to “Reduced Inequalities”, through the services that we give people, we enable access to investments in the capital market. This is regarded as inclusive because people who come from different educational and economic backgrounds can start investing with minimum capital.

Speaking about ESG’s aspects, we ensure that all business activities and human resource management are carried out in compliance with the prevailing laws and regulations. Since we are a digital investment application, our business processes are also environmentally friendly because they are paperless.

One supporting instrument of digital economic growth is the protection of consumer rights. How do you see the Personal Data Protection Act in encouraging the digital ecosystem? 

We see that the Personal Data Protection Act can accelerate growth in the digital ecosystem that is not quantitatively big, but also secure and responsible. Since consumer rights are defined clearly, on one hand, consumers can carry out digital transactions more comfortably because they have better control of their personal data. On the other hand, service providers will operate by prioritizing integrity and personal data protection principles so that consumers will eventually get quality services.

Download the EV-DCI 2023 here.