TECHINASIA: Cermati, an online portal for finding and comparing financial products in Indonesia, announced earlier today that it has closed a seed funding round of an undisclosed amount led by local VC firm East Ventures and followed by Japan-based Beenos Plaza. According to the firm, the fresh capital will be used to expand the team and to bolster Cermati’s product offerings
Cermati was co-founded by Andhy Koesnandar and Oby Sumampouw in December 2014. The pair previously worked as software engineers in the US before returning to Indonesia. Prior to co-founding Cermati, Koesnandar worked at Microsoft in Seattle for seven years as a software engineering lead. He has also worked on various components of Bing, Cortona, MSN Travel, Windows Azure, and Microsoft Dynamics. Sumampouw worked as a software engineer in Silicon Valley, where he served at big tech firms like Google, Oracle, and LinkedIn.
“As cliché as it sounds, the reason I’m returning to Indonesia is to build this country […] Finance is one of those fields where improvements in IT can make [a] significant impact in reducing poverty and alleviating social problems,” says Sumampouw. “The vision for this company is mainly to educate the masses on how to make a better financial decision.”
Cut the jargon
According to a recent McKinsey study, Indonesia’s ownership of financial products is lower at 2.3 products per capita. This is low when compared to countries like Thailand at 2.5, Malaysia at 5.4 and Singapore at 7.7. Cermati claims consumer lending is a US$120 billion business in Indonesia. As Indonesians are getting wealthier and entering the consuming middle class, it’s likely they will more often spring for financial products.
Sumampouw and Koesnandar say Cermati’s goal is to help Indonesians research, compare, and choose financial products online in an effort to save them time and money. Additionally, the pair say they want to translate difficult financial jargon to a language that’s more easily understood by normal humans.