Residing Country: Indonesia
Industry: Venture Capital
Nicko Widjaja is the CEO of BRI Ventures, a venture arm of Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BBRI), the country’s largest bank by assets. An early tech investment pioneer, his career spans over 15 years in venture capital, corporate transformation, and startup ecosystem.
He was formerly the CEO of MDI Ventures, a Telkom Indonesia backed venture capital, with investment in over 10 countries. Under his leadership, MDI Ventures become one of the most profitable venture capital firms in the region with two international IPOs (ASX and TSE) and four trade exits in just 4 years since inception.
Nicko’s vast experience was complemented by his role at Indofood, the largest FMCG company in Indonesia, where he took on corporate transformation and organizational change. His exposure to the startup ecosystem was provided by his beginner’s years in Silicon Valley (1999 –2003) where he worked at multiple early stage startups. Throughout his career, he’s invested in more than 100 startups globally.
BRI Ventures launched Sembrani Nusantara in 2020, a fund which takes a hyper-local approach to backing startups in education, agro-maritime, retail, transportation, and healthcare sectors. It is the first locally incorporated tech investment fund in the country, fully licensed by the financial services authority. BRI Ventures is now also the first VC player in Indonesia to offer venture debt to startups.
There was no such thing as corporate venture capital in Indonesia before Nicko Widjaja started it. Today, there are multiple CVC firms that now exist and are pursuing a bold government agenda to digitally transform Indonesia's state-owned enterprises and escort promising startups all the way from ideation to pre-IPO and beyond.
Nicko has helped to pry open a multitude of funding paths for founders in emerging Asia. As a result, large state-owned enterprises that employ thousands of people are now able to digitally transform. This means they're able to future-proof their businesses by partnering with or acquiring tech disruptors. State-owned corporates win by securing their futures. Local tech founders win with more available capital and exit scenarios. The Republic of Indonesia wins by cultivating a blooming digital economy that puts it on a fast track the global stage.