From Singapore to Jakarta — Singapore-based startup ventures into the Indonesian market.

The BLOCK71 Singapore-based startup Holistics is expanding to Jakarta. We were curious to know what made them make this decision and what challenges they might face when expanding into this new market. So we had a chat with the Co-Founder, Vincent Woon..

1) Why did you decide on expanding to Jakarta?

We did not make a conscious choice to expand to Jakarta, at least not in the short term. As a global SaaS company, we can do business with virtually any country in the world (we even have a customer from Kazakhstan!) We have a vision for Holistics to be represented in the region by local growth evangelists to provide a local presence and to raise awareness among the community.

We made a job posting for a growth evangelist based in Singapore to help us scale our growth. There were a few overseas applicant but an Indonesian applicant stood out (despite us not looking to hire overseas then). He didn’t have the exact skills we needed, but he showed a very positive attitude during the interview process and we see potential for him to grow with us!

2) What do you think will be the challenges that you will face venturing into this market?

We run a global business, so I don’t see any specific challenges unique to Indonesian that other countries don’t have yet. It’s easy to work with Holistics, to understand our value proposition in automating data reporting/preparation processes as a trusted SaaS provider.

Reza will be instrumental to help us understand the local market and culture better, and to provide a local presence in the community. So our challenge going forward is about making sure Reza is settled in well, and whether we can further expand our headcount in Indonesia.

We made the decision to hire first, and then figure out how to settle in later. We originally wanted Reza to work remotely, but he likes to interact with people, and the internet connectivity at his home was not stable either. It was great that the BLOCK71 Singapore team was able to help us with the most important step of providing Reza a space to settle down in while we figure out the next steps! We may need some business/legal advice going forward as the next steps.

3) What do you think of BLOCK71 Jakarta?

I personally have not been there, but Reza seems to like it a lot! In terms of space, design, internet connectivity and ease of use.

Being based in BLOCK71 Singapore, it’s a logical decision for us to work with a partner we can trust. The entire BLOCK71 Singapore team has been very supportive of Holistics since the day we start. The office facilities/amenities were world-class Singapore (standard), and I have the confidence that the infrastructure quality will not be a problem for us.

I was a little concerned at first as Reza may be very critical of BLOCK71 Jakarta as he used to work for another co-working space provider. So it was really a pleasant surprise when he told me he loved it! His first post on our Facebook was to share a very flattering angle of the Jakarta office!

4) What is exciting about Jakarta?

The people and talents there. I personally find that there’s a good talented pool of Indonesian designers (PS Our logo is designed by an Indonesian too!) and it may be interesting for us to engage a designer there at some point. The people there are friendly and warm towards each other, and they hold their family, religion and culture very close to their daily lives. I also look forward to having my first GrabBike ride there (maybe without my luggage!).

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NUS Enterprise nurtures entrepreneurial talents with global mindsets, while advancing innovation and entrepreneurship at Asia’s leading university.

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