iPad Pro 2017 Models Outperform New MacBook Pro Models in Some Benchmarks

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The benchmark tests pitted new iPad Pro models against MacBook Pro
  • The 10.5-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models were included in the test
  • Benchmark also included 2016 MacBook Pro models

Apple’s new iPad Pro models are as capable as the refreshed MacBook Pro models, matching, and even surpassing the laptops in certain benchmarks. Bare Feats, a benchmarking blog, posted some CPU and GPU test results that pitted the 2017 MacBook Pro models against the new iPad Pro 12.9 inch and 10.5-inch models.

The devices were tested with a series of benchmark tests like GeekBench and GFXBench giving an idea about the CPU and GPU performance of the new iPad Pro and MacBook Pro models. The tests also included older 2016 MacBook Pro and iPad Pro models to get a better idea about the improvements that the new hardware brings to the hotel.

In terms of GPU performance, the new iPad Pro models outperform the MacBook Pro (2016 and 2017) models in Geekbench 4 Compute Metal test. The test results showed the 10.5-inch iPad Pro model scoring 27,814, and was closely followed by 12.9-inch iPad Pro which scored 27,597. MacBook Pro 2016 and 2017 models came third and fourth with a score of 27,631 and 26,353 respectively.

In the single-core GeekBench 4 tests, the all-new MacBook Pro 13-inch was seen scoring 4,650, which outperformed the new iPad Pro models which scored around 4,000 mark. Though, the test also saw that the 12.9-inch and 10.5-inch iPad Pro models scores were on par with the older MacBook Pro models.iPad Pro 2017 Models Outperform New MacBook Pro Models in Some Benchmarks

In the multi-core CPU tests, the 2017 MacBook Pro models yet again outperformed all the iPad Pro models with a stunning score of 10,261. The new iPad Pro models, however, beat the 2016 MacBook Pro models, which can be seen as a big improvement for the tablets.

The benchmark scores may indicate that the new iPad Pro models can match CPU and GPU performance of MacBook Pro though we want to stress that these scores aren’t indicative of real-world usage usage.

To recall, Apple refreshed the 12.9-inch iPad Pro model at the WWDC 2017, and also launched the new 10.5-inch iPad Pro. The company also refreshed the entire MacBook lineup, including a new 13-Inch MacBook Pro configuration.

Apple iPad Pro (10.5-inch) Wi-Fi

Apple iPad Pro (10.5-inch) Wi-Fi

  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS

Display

10.50-inch

Front Camera

7-megapixel

Resolution

2224×1668 pixels

OS

iOS 10

Storage

64GB

Rear Camera

12-megapixel

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    Rs. 43,496
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    Rs. 47,405
  • Apple iPad Pro (9.7-inch) Wi-Fi (Rose Gold, 32GB) – OFFER
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Apple iPad Pro (12.9-inch) 2017 Wi-Fi

Apple iPad Pro (12.9-inch) 2017 Wi-Fi

  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS

Display

12.90-inch

Front Camera

7-megapixel

Resolution

2732×2048 pixels

OS

iOS 10

Storage

64GB

Rear Camera

12-megapixel

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    Rs. 43,496
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Western Digital Moves to Court in a Bid to Block Sale of Toshiba Chip Unit

HIGHLIGHTS
WD has sought a court injunction to stop Toshiba’s chip unit sale
The court injunction details that Toshiba needs to take WD’s consent
Toshiba wants to complete the deal as quickly as possible
Western Digital Corp has sought a court injunction to prevent Toshiba Corp from selling its chip business without the US firm’s consent – a move that threatens to throw the fiercely contested auction into disarray.

The escalation in the spat between Western Digital, which jointly operates Toshiba’s main chip plant, and its business partner follows tense last-minute jockeying by suitors for the world’s second-biggest producer of NAND semiconductors.

According to a person familiar with the matter, the California-based firm has been left out of a new Japan government-led group being formed to bid for the unit.

Toshiba’s “attempts to circumvent our contractual rights have left us with no choice but to take this action,” Western Digital’s Chief Executive Steve Milligan said in a statement.

ALSO SEEJapan Urges Toshiba, Western Digital to Get Along as Chip Spat Flares

“Left unchecked, Toshiba would pursue a course that clearly violates these rights,” he added.

Western Digital has filed its suit with the Superior Court of California, seeking an injunction until its arbitration case against Toshiba is heard. It is concerned about how Toshiba, the Japanese government and other stakeholders are handling the auction process, a second source said.

The second source added it had submitted a revised bid on Wednesday that satisfies Toshiba’s requests on deal certainty and price but did not receive a favourable response. Toshiba has demanded at least JPY 2 trillion ($18 billion) for the unit.

Sources declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the negotiations concerning the auction.

Toshiba said in a statement that it was proceeding with selecting a preferred bidder for its memory unit by the second half of June as planned and hoped to reach a definitive agreement on a sale by June 28.

Western Digital Moves to Court in a Bid to Block Sale of Toshiba Chip Unit

Toshiba wants to complete the deal as quickly as possible to help cover billions of dollars in cost overruns at its now-bankrupt Westinghouse nuclear unit and to dig itself out negative shareholders’ equity that could lead to a delisting.

Satoru Oyama, senior principal analyst at research firm IHS, said Western Digital’s argument made sense from a common-sense point of view and that developments were moving towards a worst-case scenario for the Japanese company.

“Toshiba has more to lose in the dispute because it is running out of time,” he said. “Toshiba and Western Digital eventually have to talk. They cannot afford to keep fighting when Samsung is taking advantage of the NAND market boom and investing massively.”

A third source familiar with the matter said Western Digital expects to get a ruling on its injunction request by mid-July and that arbitration cases generally take 16-24 months to resolve.

A state-backed fund, the Innovation Network Corp of Japan (INCJ), has been at the centre of trade ministry efforts to forge a successful bid that will keep the highly prized unit under domestic control. But the nature of its partnerships appears to be going through drastic changes compared to just last week.

It has been in talks with Bain Capital and the group now includes South Korea’s SK Hynix Inc, sources have said.

INCJ was, however, also part of a proposed bid tabled by Western Digital last week that also included US private equity firm KKR & Co LP, other sources familiar with the matter have said.

Other bidders include Foxconn, the world’s largest contract electronics maker. Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry, is leading a consortium that includes Apple Inc computing giant Dell Inc and Kingston Technology Co.

The highest known bid so far is one from US chipmaker Broadcom and its partner, US private equity firm Silver Lake. They have offered JPY 2.2 trillion, sources have said.

Now, an Algorithm to Teach Robots How to Behave Like a Human in Certain Situations

Scientists have developed a new machine-learning algorithm to help robots display appropriate social behaviour in interactions with humans.

Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) are making virtual and robotic assistants increasingly capable in performing complex tasks, researchers said.

For these “smart” machines to be considered safe and trustworthy collaborators with human partners, however, robots must be able to quickly assess a given situation and apply human social norms, they said.

Now, researchers at Brown University and Tufts University in the US have created a cognitive-computational model of human norms in a representation that can be coded into machines.

They developed a machine-learning algorithm that allows machines to learn norms in unfamiliar situations drawing on human data.

The project funded by the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) represents important progress towards the development of AI systems that can “intuit” how to behave in certain situations in much the way people do.

Now, an Algorithm to Teach Robots How to Behave Like a Human in Certain Situations

“The goal of this research effort was to understand and formalise human normative systems and how they guide human behaviour, so that we can set guidelines for how to design next-generation AI machines that are able to help and interact effectively with humans,” said Reza Ghanadan, DARPA programme manager.
As an example in which humans intuitively apply social norms of behaviour, consider a situation in which a cell phone rings in a quiet library, researchers said.

A person receiving that call would quickly try to silence the distracting phone, and whisper into the phone before going outside to continue the call in a normal voice.

Today, an AI phone-answering system would not automatically respond with that kind of social sensitivity. “We do not currently know how to incorporate meaningful norm processing into effective computational architectures,” Ghanadan said, adding that social and ethical norms have a number of properties that make them uniquely challenging.

Ultimately, for a robot to become social or perhaps even ethical, it will need to have a capacity to learn, represent, activate, and apply a large number of norms that people in a given society expect one another to obey, Ghanadan said.

That task will prove far more complicated than teaching AI systems rules for simpler tasks such as tagging pictures, detecting spam, or guiding people through their tax returns.

However, by providing a framework for developing and testing such complex algorithms, the new

NASCAR's first lady of racing Louise Smith is the inspiration for 'Barnstormer' in 'Cars 3'

“Cars 3” character Louise “Barnstormer” Nash was inspired by real-life racer Louise Smith.

Before Janet Guthrie and Danica Patrick, there was Louise Smith — pioneering race car driver and NASCAR legend. As the first woman inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1999, the “Good ‘Ol’ Gal” from Greenville, South Carolina, is also the inspiration behind Disney Pixar’s “Cars 3” character Louise “Barnstormer” Nash (voiced by Margo Martindale). The name serves as a tribute to the driver and her infamous No. 94 1950 Nash Ambassador. Known for her flair and fearless crashes, Smith’s success and style made history in the racing world.

Her journey began with the support of a then-young promoter, Bill France Sr., the eventual co-founder of NASCAR. France helped launch Smith’s career, and she quickly fell in love with the sport.

She gained national notoriety in 1947 at the Daytona Beach and Road Course race, where, legend has it, Smith went to watch but ended up on the track. Entering her husband’s new Ford coupe in the race, the “Barnstormer” wrecked and landed herself on the front page of newspapers across the country.

Known as the “First Lady of Racing,” Smith crashed several cars and broke innumerable bones. In fact, one wreck left her with 48 stitches and four pins in her left knee; others are claimed to have nearly taken her life. Her boldness and spectacular speed took the racing world, and many of the men in it, by surprise.

Smith won an impressive 38 races across four divisions from 1947 to 1956, when she retired. She remained active in the racing world for nearly four more decades before her death in 2006 at age 89. Her legacy lives on with “Car 3,” which hits theaters on Friday.


Louise Smith
ISC Images & Archives via Getty Images

Smith posed in front her car after a crash at North Carolina’s Occoneechee Speedway in the late 1940s. Her car went airborne into the surrounding woods. It took rescue workers more than a half-hour to free Smith from the wreckage.

Louise Smith
ISC Archives/Getty Images

At the first NASCAR Cup Series in Daytona Beach on June 19, 1949, Smith accepted the trophy for sportsman win. Daytona Beach was instrumental in the formation of NASCAR, home to several of its earliest events and the sport’s first track: the Daytona Beach Road Course. Smith was one of three women to compete in the race.

Louise Smith
ISC Archives and Research Center/Getty Images

In another accident at Occoneechee Speedway during the inaugural NASCAR Strictly Stock Series on Aug. 7, 1949, Smith emerged with several injuries from the crash but crawled back into the crushed car for a photo op. Most early NASCAR races, including this one, were held on dirt-surfaced short tracks or dirt fairground ovals. The race was renamed the Grand National series in 1950.

Ethel Flock Mobley, Sara Christian and Louise Smith
ISC Images & Archives/Getty Images

Ethel Flock Mobley and Sara Christian were the two other female NASCAR drivers to compete in the circuits of that era. Before a race at Philadelphia’s Langhorne Speedway on Sept. 11, 1949, the three posed in their rides for a publicity photo intended to attract women to the sport. Mobley drove No. 92, the ’48 Cadillac. Christian, middle, wheeled No. 71 — the ’49 Oldsmobile — finishing best of the three at sixth place overall. Smith sported a ’47 Ford.

Louise Smith
ISC Archives/Getty Images

Smith standing next to her Leslie Motor Co. Nash Ambassador at Occoneechee Speedway on Oct. 29, 1950. Her famed No. 94, the car she raced in the NASCAR Grand National Series in both 1949 and 1950, was the inspiration for the style and name of Disney Pixar’s “Cars 3” character, Louise “Barnstormer” Nash. Smith was both the driver and the owner of this car, an extraordinary claim for a woman behind a NASCAR wheel. She finished 19th in the 200-miler, holding her own against some of the sport’s early greats including Buck Baker and Flock brothers Tim and Fonty.

Louise Smith
AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain

Smith, the first woman inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, showcasing memorabilia in her Greenville, South Carolina, home in 1998. After retiring in 1956, she returned to the racing realm in the 1970s as an owner, sponsoring cars and supporting drivers. Her decades-long involvement in the sport is captured in this room.

Ashly Burch 'Heartbroken' She Won't Play Chloe In Life Is Strange Prequel

As the longest strike in Screen Actors Guild history chugs on, video game voice actors are making painful career sacrifices to show solidarity with their union. 234 days into the strike, after Microsoft announced Life Is Strange: Before The Storm, fans immediately sussed out that award-winning voice actress and SAG-AFTRA member Ashly Burch will not reprise her original role as the rebellious teen Chloe.

Shortly after Microsoft’s E3 presentation, Burch, who has voiced Aloy in Horizon Zero Dawn and Tiny Tina in Borderlands 2, said that Square Enix had decided to go with a non-union actress.

“I’m pretty heartbroken,” Burch told Kotaku. “It feels sort of like you were forced to put your kid up for adoption.” Burch’s performance as Chloe in the original Life Is Strange earned her the “Best Gaming Performance” award at 2015’s Golden Joystick Awards. She will stay on the prequel project as a writer and consultant.

In October 2015, SAG-AFTRA members voted to strike strike against 11 video game companies, including EA, Activision and Take 2. Video game voice actors comprise a large part of the union and since early 2015, several had been in negotiations with games companies over better compensation.

“Nobody becomes an actor in order to not act,” Phil LaMarr, who sits on SAG-AFTRA’s interactive negotiating committee, told Kotaku. LaMarr, an experienced film, television and voice actor, had voiced Aquaman for Injustice 2prior to the strike (Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment is one of the publishers that SAG-AFTRA is currently striking). LaMarr said he is disappointed that, if negotiations remain on hold, he wouldn’t be able to reprise the role if there’s DLC or future Injustice games.

Ashly Burch

“Fortunately, there are a lot of companies that have looked at what we’re asking for and said, Oh yeah, that makes sense,” LaMarr said. “There are a lot of games we’re not able to continue working on, but there are a lot of new games, too.”

Primarily, these voice actors want residuals—post-release payments dependent on game sales. The strain placed on voice actors’ voices when characters die, are injured or run screaming into battle seriously impacts their well-being, SAG-AFTRA has argued. That, and the fact that game publishers’ desire for absolute secrecy often leads them to obscure what game voice actors are even working on, can make these gigs particularly tough, the union says.

Since the strike began, SAG-AFTRA has signed agreements with over 30 game companies covering over 40 games.

No voice actors have broken the strike. So when Burch was approached by Square Enix about voicing Chloe in the just-announced Life Is Strange prequel, she had to make a difficult decision.

“When the strike happened, you know there will be sacrifices you have to make,” Burch said. “This particular one is genuinely pretty difficult for me. It wasn’t one that I was anticipating. This is my sacrifice, and it’s a big one.”

Burch feels that SAG-AFTRA’s demands are reasonable, not just for her and her colleagues, but for up-and-coming voice actors, too. The strike persists, she said, so SAG-AFTRA can ensure that anyone involved in the industry will be safeguarded.

But that doesn’t mean hearing another woman voice Chloe doesn’t hurt. Chloe, a deeply flawed and endearing character with whom fans have developed a strong connection, is the main character’s best friend, a blue-haired, angry girl who, Burch said, “in her core, desperately wants to feel safe, loved and lovable.”

Burch said that voicing Chloe wasn’t just a gig but also an act of self-care. Burke said that as a teenager, she resembled Chloe a lot. “I broke off a little piece of my soul when I did the first Life Is Strange and put it in Chloe,” Burch said. “Playing Chloe turned out to be a tremendously personal experience for me, an almost cathartic experience.”

When asked for comment, Square Enix referred Kotaku to a blog post that stated, in part: “Ashly Burch, Chloe’s original voice actor, makes a welcome return to the family this time on writing duties. . . It’s great to have her writing dialogue for a new younger, 16 year old Chloe, this time voiced by extremely talented actress Rhianna DeVries.”

Resident Evil Revelations 2

Burch isn’t the only voice actress to report some bad strike-related news during E3. Canadian voice actress Alyson Court, who has played Resident Evil’s Claire Redfield throughout five of the game’s iterations, posted a YouTube video on Monday explaining that she would not be returning for Resident Evil 2’s newly-announced remake, although she featured in the original.

Court said the producer for RE2’s remake did reach out about a year and a half ago, but later, she said she was informed that the role would go to a non-union voice actress. Court is not a member of SAG-AFTRA, but Canada’s ACTRA, which, in solidarity with US union actors, is also refusing struck work. Capcom declined to comment to Kotaku for this story.

Asked for comment, Court sent Kotaku a new video explaining her disappointment. “It’s one thing to make a decision to replace me for a creative choice—and I totally get that,” she said in the video, “but if the only reason they chose to replace me is because they wanted to go non-union, it’s petty, it’s disrespectful.”

'They've built a garden in the middle of a cyclone': House Rules couples marvel at their renovated yards after devastating Queensland storms halted production

The devastation caused by Queensland’s Cyclone Debbie forced House Rules to halt production last episode.

But with everything back on schedule on Sunday, the contestants were able to continue with their next challenge- executing two stunning garden makeovers.

In a sneak peak released this Friday, the couples were overjoyed to witness their brand new yards for the first time.

Scroll down for video.  

Overcoming the odds! In a House Rules sneak peak released Friday, the couples were overjoyed upon witnessing their brand new yards for the first time

The Queensland contestants had faced a daunting task upon returning to the building site after wild weather hit.

In the sneak preview footage, the contestants were sent scurrying the second the countdown timer resumed with seven hours and two minutes to go.

‘We’re going to need those extra two minutes,’ Kate joked.

Devastation: Couples faced a daunting task upon return, after Cyclone Debbie hit Aaron and Daniella's house so badly, the clock had to be stopped for the first time in the show's history

Devastation: Couples faced a daunting task upon return, after Cyclone Debbie hit Aaron and Daniella’s house so badly, the clock had to be stopped for the first time in the show’s history

Relief! But in a relieving surprise, footage from the clip showed couple's on the verge of tears upon witnessing the transformations

Relief! But in a relieving surprise, footage from the clip showed couple’s on the verge of tears upon witnessing the transformations

The contestants appeared to have pulled things together at the last minute, however, as implied by footage showing the couples lost for words upon witnessing the transformations.

Queensland local Daniella was shown walking down the street, squealing with elated shock at the first glimpse of her garden.

Images from their front yard showed renovated entry steps, a new lawn and a brand new driveway.

Elation! Queensland local Daniella squealed with elation after seeing her renovated entry steps, a lawn refresh and a brand new driveway

Elation! Queensland local Daniella squealed with elation after seeing her renovated entry steps, a lawn refresh and a brand new driveway

Impressive! Meanwhile, Tasmania's Sean and Ella were equally impressed as they lay eyes on their once run-down garden

Impressive! Meanwhile, Tasmania’s Sean and Ella were equally impressed as they lay eyes on their once run-down garden

Meanwhile, Tasmania’s Sean and Ella were equally impressed as they lay eyes on their once run-down garden.

Gone was dug-up soil and dead grass that once dominated the backyard, replaced with fresh green grass and a luxurious outdoor timber table setting.

Even hard-to-please judge Laurence Llewelyn Bowen was impressed, applauding: They have (managed to) build a garden in the middle of a Cyclone!’

Two gardens are revealed on Channel Seven’s House Rules, 7:00 on Sunday night.

Lush! Gone was dug-up soil and dead grass that once dominated the backyard, replaced with fresh green grass and a luxurious outdoor timber table setting

Lush! Gone was dug-up soil and dead grass that once dominated the backyard, replaced with fresh green grass and a luxurious outdoor timber table setting

Full reveal: The Two gardens are revealed in full on Channel Seven’s House Rules, 7:00 on Sunday night

 

HTC U11 ‘Squeezable Smartphone’ to Launch in India Today

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The HTC U11 was launched in Taiwan last month
  • The 6GB RAM/128GB storage variant is expected to launch in India
  • HTC U11 is powered by the latest Snapdragon 835 SoC

HTC is all set to launch the HTC U11 in India today. The smartphone’s big attraction is its Edge Sense feature that promises to bring a complete new way of interacting with the device, making it ’squeezable’. The HTC U11 will be launched at an event in New Delhi, where the price in India and availability information will be revealed.

The HTC U11 smartphone was launched in Taiwan last month. To recall, price of the HTC U11 starts at EUR 749 (roughly Rs. 53,000) for Europe, and in the US it’s at $749 (roughly Rs. 48,000). A recent leak claims that India will get the 6GB RAM and 128GB storage variant of the HTC U11.

HTC U11 specifications

HTC U11 runs on Android 7.1 Nougat with the company’s HTC Sense skin on top, and it comes with support for dual-SIM cards (Nano-SIM). It features a 5.5-inch Quad HD (1440×2560 pixels) Super LCD display with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 The HTC U11 is powered by a 2.45GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC. There are two storage and memory variant – 4GB RAM/ 64GB storage and 6GB RAM/ 128GB storage. Only the latter variant is tipped to be coming to India, though we will know for sure only after the launch event. The HTC U11 also offers storage expansion via a microSD card slot (up to 2TB).

HTC U11 ‘Squeezable Smartphone’ to Launch in India Today

As for optics, the HTC U11 sports a 12-megapixel camera with 1.4-micron pixel, ultra spread autofocus, BSI sensor, OIS, f/1.7 aperture, dual-LED flash, slow-motion, and 4K video recording. Camera features include Face Detection, Pro mode with manual control, 32-second long exposure, and RAW format support, HDR Boost, Panorama, and Hyperlapse. The HTC U11 has a 16-megapixel front camera with BSI sensor, full-HD recording. Front camera features include live make-up, auto selfie, voice selfie, HDR Boost, and Selfie Panorama. The HTC U11 packs a 3000mAh battery that is rated to offer up to 24.5 hours of talk time, and 14 days of standby time. There’s also an extreme power saving mode, and Quick Charge 3.0 support. Connectivity options include GPS/ A-GPS, GLONASS, USB 3.1 Type-C port, Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz & 5GHz), and NFC support.

The HTC U11 also sports IP67 water and dust resistance and is Hi-Res audio certified. The fingerprint scanner is housed underneath the Home Button in the front. With respect to design, HTC U11 retains the U Ultra’s design language and sports 3D glass both on the front and back of the device. The device has no 3.5mm audio jack, just like the HTC U Ultra, and the company is bundling a 3.5mm audio jack to USB Type-C adapter.

HTC U11 Edge Sense feature

The highlight of the HTC U11 is the Edge Sense feature, which lets you launch the camera, and send texts by squeezing the metal edges of the smartphone. You can customise the squeeze gesture to open email, and even launch your favourite app or game. When users activate advanced touch mode, they can use a “short squeeze” as well as a “squeeze and hold” for even more functionality at your fingertips. The HTC U11 squeeze feature works while wearing gloves as well, as Edge Sense is based on actual pressure applied to the side of the device.

HTC U11

HTC U11

  • KEY SPECS
  • NEWS

Display

5.50-inch

Processor

2.45GHz octa-core

Front Camera

16-megapixel

Resolution

1440×2560 pixels

RAM

6GB

OS

Android 7.1

Storage

128GB

Rear Camera

12-Ultrapixel

Battery Capacity

3000mAh

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AgriTech In India: How Startups Are Changing The Face Of Indian Agriculture

India holds the record for the second-largest agricultural land in the world, with around 60% rural Indian households making their living from agriculture thus creating a huge scope for agritech startups in the country.

The central and state governments are proactively pursuing policies to improve farmers’ lives in India. In fact, PM Modi’s government has an aim to double the average farmer’s income by 2022. But is enough being done to remove inefficiencies in the agricultural supply chain to make Indian agritech a lucrative investment opportunity?

We, at Inc42, have taken up the onus to promote and spread awareness about agritech in India. To this end, our first step was hosting an AgriTech Investors Roundtable on 25 May 2017 in Delhi. The purpose of the roundtable was to discuss the challenges and opportunity in the Agriculture sector in India and also to launch a report on – The State Of Indian AgriTech – 2017.Image result for AgriTech In India: How Startups Are Changing The Face Of Indian Agriculture

The report was launched in the presence of Vikram Gupta, Managing Partner, IvyCap Ventures; Ravinder Singh Saini, Principal Consultant of National Productivity Council; Adhir Jha, MD and CEO India Sugar Exim Corporation (ISEC); Ritu Verma, co-founder and Managing Director, Ankur Capital; Hemendra Mathur, Venture Partner, Bharat Innovations Fund; Akash Rukhaiyar, an ex-CFO and investor and Shamit Ghosh.

Download The Report Now!

The State Of Agriculture In India

Agriculture, along with fisheries and forestry, is one of the largest contributors to the Indian Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The GDP of agriculture and allied sectors in India was recorded at $244.74 Bn in FY ‘16.

  1. At 157.35 Mn hectares, India holds the second-largest agricultural land in the world.
  2. There has been an increased focus on investments in agricultural infrastructures such as irrigation facilities, warehousing, and cold storage.
  3. New schemes such as Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana, Pradhanmantri Gram Sinchai Yojana, and Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana have been introduced to improve farmers’ fortunes and other facilities which could boost agriculture in India.

Agriculture In India: Challenges

A drop in landholdings (average 1.4 hectares), small and fragmented land holdings, a decreasing agricultural land versus a growing population, decreasing groundwater levels, poor quality of seeds, lack of mechanisation, low yield per unit crop and a dependence on middlemen are some of the challenges for the growth of agriculture in India.

Added to that, an absence of an organised marketing structure for produce, malpractices in the existing unorganised agricultural markets, inadequate facilities for transportation and storage, scarcity of credit, and limited access to superior technology to get timely information are some of the many afflictions which obstruct the Indian agricultural sector.

Opportunities For AgriTech Startups

Opportunities lie in areas like how to increase crop production, improving the nutritional value of the crops, reduction in input prices for farmers, improving the overall process-driven supply chain, reducing wastage in the distribution system, making easy farm mechanisation available, and enabling connectivity of farmers with the masses by interlinking the consumer and producer.  

AgriTech startups are also leveraging technology in the area of market linkages such as retail, B2C and B2B marketplaces and digital agronomy platforms. AgriTech startups are now able to address input challenges of agriculture in India from the very beginning. They are able to provide correct information, techniques, and efficiencies to farmers both for pre-harvest applications and post-harvest use cases.

AgriTech Funding In India

According to the latest report, for 2016, over $3.23 Bn was invested in agriculture sector worldwide. Of this, 53 Indian agritech startups raised $313 Mn. Globally, category-wise, 40% of the total funding ($1.29 Bn) was invested in food marketplaces or the food ecommerce category, followed by biotechnology startups which garnered 22% of the funding ($719 Mn). Investment in precision agriculture technologies, which include data-capturing devices and farm management software, came third at $405 Mn, while investment in Novel Farming Systems, which are startups using new and innovative ways to produce agricultural and biological products, was the fourth category wherein funding flowed ($247 Mn).

Conclusion

Demand-side drivers such as population growth, rising income levels leading to increasing consumption, and increasing exports favour the growth of agriculture in India. More so, policy support from the government such as increasing MSPs, increasing crop insurance support, the introduction of various schemes to facilitate farmers, initiatives to bolster easy credit to farmers will also increase growth. The need of the hour is for all stakeholders – from governments to agritech startups to investors – to come together in harnessing the opportunity to transform this sector. Mostly, government policies treat agriculture as a poverty alleviation method but the focus should be on enhancing productivity and raising incomes. The impetus should be on the application of technology to lower challenges on the input side right from planting to irritating to harvesting and finally selling.

Download The Report Now!

The report launch was followed by two-panel discussions centred on the theme that the agriculture value chain requires disruption and innovation to tackle inefficiencies – which would most likely come from tech-driven startups rather than the traditional agriculture players in India.

The first panel comprising Vikram Gupta, Ravinder Singh Saini, Adhir Jha, and Akash Rukhaiyar was moderated by Shamit Ghosh. The panel examined if the agritech opportunity is a hidden opportunity or mere hype.

AgriTech – A Hidden Opportunity Or Hype?

On this, Vikram Gupta stated that the size of the opportunity is quite large. He said, “From an investor’s perspective, investors are looking for four-five years’ kind of timeframe for returns. We are looking for asset-light opportunities, where you can use technology to scale up businesses. One of them is information technology – which farmers can leverage to take mission-critical decisions.”

Vikram noted that while it’s challenging to monetise these products, there are interesting models which are being monetised, and farmers are willing to pay for them. However, he pointed out that when it comes to the other part of technology such as farm mechanisation, India is lagging.

agriculture-agritech-india-startups

He said, “Despite India having one of the highest productive agricultural land in the world, its share of sales in the mechanised products sold by top Fortune 100 farm companies in the world is less than 5%.” This is where he believed an opportunity exists for startups.

Taking the discussion further on the same tangent, Adhir Jha stated that since average landholding size of farmers is small, many mechanisation technologies are beyond the means of farmers. He said, “Hence, startups need to come up with technologies which can be leased to farmers for a period of time to but whose maintenance rests majorly with startups.”

He also added that since it takes time for farmers to develop confidence in agritech extension activities, patience will have to be a key factor here. “So, as an investor, you have to be in here for the long haul. You might see a negative impact in the first four or five years and then the model might turn around.”

AgriTech – An Investor’s Perspective

The second-panel discussion centred on exploring the investors’ perspective in detail –why investors who have invested in the sector continue to bet on it, what would make investors who don’t invest in agritech currently explore it proactively, and trends to watch out for in this space.

This panel consisted of Ritu Verma, co-founder and Managing Director, Ankur Capital, Hemendra Mathur, Venture Partner, Bharat Innovations Fund, and Vikram Gupta of IvyCap Ventures.

On being questioned as to what made Ankur Capital invest in agriculture, Ritu replied the fact that the section is associated with the fundamental act of eating, coupled with the drive to engage with the backend of delivery of food, as demands and habits change was the main driver for investment.

agriculture-agritech-india-startups

Speaking on if the opportunity is viable, Hemendra Mathur stated, “The size of the opportunity is a key factor as well as the demand. If you look at the last 10 years, why VC investment has picked up is because some bit of inflection point was there when per capita income of Indians increased. This resulted in shifts in demand habits in food in India in 2013.  And that is reflected in the balance sheet of the food sectors. It’s not that we are eating more, but more consumers are willing to buy good quality food. So, that’s a reason for sudden VC interest in the last few years in agriculture.”

He also added that another reason is that it is a very defensible sector, given that food is the last thing one cuts out even when the economy goes down.

The investors also discussed that technology will help lower costs for farmers. Thus, what startups have to do is build the cost value proposition for the farmer. Hemendra aptly stated, “And viability cannot come alone from the farmer but from the entire ecosystem on the supply chain, who can make business models viable.”

For encouraging more funds to flow into the sector, Vikram believed that the government should get incentives to funds who invest in agriculture, its sub-sectors, and in remote areas. He stated that general education and awareness at the grassroots level is missing and the government has to play a huge role in informing farmers about the opportunities available – be it credit or technologies.

For startups looking to enter the sector, Hemendra added that the top three opportunities lay in capturing real-time data, image analytics, and technology for soil scanning. He explained, “With satellite imagery, you can tell at sowing stage, what is going to be the potential yield. So, once it reaches a point where demand supply is matching, the government can issue an advisory. These measures would help farmers to avoid excess sowing, manage supply so that prices don’t crash.”

Vikram aptly summed up the discussion stating, “The Uberisation of Indian agritech startups is just waiting to happen. The inflection point is around the corner.”

The session concluded with a presentation from Jukka Peuranpää, CEO, Agroy and a former farmer. Agroy has made giant strides in terms of making its presence felt in the US and now with aims to plant its flag in India.

How FinTech Startups Are Transforming The Way Banks Function In Indonesia

Fintech startups in Indonesia have initiated a revolution the way financial institutions including banks in the country work. The fintech landscape of Indonesia has more or less followed the trajectory of the revolution India witnessed last year.

India, November 2016. PM Modi launched a demonetisation drive to eradicate black money, fostering a new wave of digitisation in India. Consequently, there was a tremendous rise in the adoption of e-wallets, launch of new fintech startups, and the average Indian became familiar with a new financial entity, bitcoin. With huge sums being invested in the segment, Fintech became the frontrunner of the Indian startup ecosystem.

From local grocery shops to petrol pumps to movie theatres, digital wallets have captured each and every day-to-day business which requires payments. Not only this, digital wallets have even seen a massive adoption for payment chores like booking air tickets or buying movie tickets or paying bills (DTH, Water, Electricity). In a nutshell, India is poised towards fintech revolution – thanks to the rise of digital wallets, UPI coming into the picture and of course, companies launching payment banks.

 Image result for How FinTech Startups Are Transforming The Way Banks Function In Indonesia
This is what fintech does: it disrupts the traditional and welcomes the future. It’s not just about innovation and technology, it is also about financial inclusivity, and India is moving towards that.

Coming to Indonesia, there are more than 150 fintech startups in Indonesia and this number has increased by a whopping 78% from 2015, according to the Indonesia Fintech report 2016. Quite similar to the India story, not in context to numbers but the growth percentage. India recorded $1.77 Bn in FinTech investments between 2014 and 2015 through a total of 158 deals, according to Inc42’s FinTech Market Report 2014-2016. The average deal size was $9.82 Mn.

All of this has happened in the last couple years. So when we ask ourselves how? The answer is simple: when technology meets innovation, disruption happens.

The Present Indonesian Financial Ecosystem

With a population of more than 250 Mn and a consistent growth in the annual gross domestic product (GDP), Indonesia has emerged as Southeast Asia’s trojan horse, as the next big land of opportunity.

Fintech today is a coveted space in Indonesia. Investments are booming, sectors are expanding, various avenues are being explored and new products are being launched. Be it digital payments, online lending, or remote banking, Indonesia has seen a surge of startups that have developed products to solve the current needs of the population.

At the same time, the country remains a challenging market for fintech industry to grow with only 40% of adults in the country having access to banks. 49 Mn SMEs unit are still not bankable, because of low credit score and little or no financial history. So how does one understand this industry?

Why Indonesia Needs Fintech

Businesses are essentially established to solve consumers’ needs. Fintech in Indonesia has followed the same pattern. To begin with, a vast majority of the Indonesian population is doesn’t have access to banks. It is estimated that only 40% of Indonesia’s 250 Mn population currently have access to services provided by banks. This impressed the need to develop alternative banking systems that could provide users with new and effective ways of banking.

Adds Kaustav Ghosh, Product Evangelist, MatchMove, “Like other similar markets, Indonesia has historically been relatively low on banking penetration. At the same time, it has seen a vibrant prepaid airtime and utility payments culture, a robust prepaid cards business base and a very creative entrepreneur class. Banks themselves have proven that they are innovative. While it may be little appreciated elsewhere, Indonesia has a very large informal economy and the many small businesses drive a lot of demand for services and new concepts. It has helped that the regulator has been progressive and abreast of global developments. Indonesia also has strong domestic brands emerging out of a native start-up culture. All this has been fertile ground for fintech.”

Secondly, Indonesia is a country of SMBs. These enterprises account for 99% of the total amount of enterprises that are operating in Indonesia and they create a total of 107.6 Mn jobs in Southeast Asia’s largest emerging economy, as per a Deloitte report. Moreover, Indonesia’s micro, small, and medium-sized companies contribute 60.6 % to Indonesia’s gross domestic product (GDP). In fact, they cushion the country’s economy in times of shocks. However, the majority of these companies do not pay taxes, while most workers belong to the informal sector.

Says Piotr Jakubowski, CMO of Indonesian ride-hailing giant Go-Jek, “One of the most fascinating challenges in Indonesia which contributes to the large population not having access to banks (60%+) is due to the fact that the country is the world’s largest archipelago. The size and the nature of the country simply does not allow traditional financial systems to scale and cover everything. For example, one of the state banks in Indonesia has actually transformed small boats into branches that can reach consumers in even the most remote areas. By breaking down the barriers of location, the emerging players provide an opportunity to this large population which doesn’t has access to banks to join the digital economy and drive its growth.” (bq)

In order to accelerate their growth, the SMEs need funding, yet many of them do not have the necessary financial history nor collateral to secure loans from banks. The sector is still largely unorganised, thereby struggling to maintain even basic workflow requirements, in terms of capital access. Lack of credit history, collateral, and accounting discipline, further mars these small-time businessmen’s capacity to procure funds from sources other than shady money lenders and friends and family – giving rise to the need and a largely untapped market for alternative lending and credit platforms.

Thirdly, due to Indonesia’s peculiar geography, its traditional banking system suffers. The number of bank branches, which is estimated at 10 banks (branches)  per 1,000 square kilometers is far too low to serve Indonesia’s vast geography. The fact that there are remote and inaccessible areas in the country poses an even greater challenge for banks’ penetration, which gives birth to the need of online and remotely accessible institutions that can facilitate these financial needs.

Breaking Down The Indonesian Fintech Pie

Bank of Indonesia defines fintech as: “A phenomenon of fusion between technology and financial features that transform business models and a weak barrier to entry which lead to raises unregulated players to run the service as well as regulated financial institutions.”

As highlighted above, the country has seen a major surge in the number of fintech ventures. The major areas that startups are capturing and disrupting are payments, insurance, stock markets, investments, PoS, comparison, and online lending. The clear winner is digital payments, prompted by the fact that the internet and consumption patterns are changing. Major startups in the payments sector include Mandiri, T-Cash, PayPro, IPayMu, Xenditi among others.

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Digital payments have become so big in the archipelago that the total transaction value in the “Digital Payments” segment amounts to $18 Mn in 2017. Additionally, the total transaction value is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2017-2021) of 18.4 %, resulting in the total amount of $36 Mn in 2021. Popular fintech categories in Indonesia are lending platforms, capturing 17% and marketplaces for financial products that have occupied 13%.

Says Sebastian Togelang, founding partner, Kejora Ventures, “Fintech is the hottest space in Indonesia right now. Everyone, be it founders and VCs are running towards capturing the opportunity. We might also see a lot of funding and consolidation in the space, in the coming times.”

When it comes to its potential as a market for Internet-based services, the numbers seem to bear great promises for Indonesian market. Internet users in the country had exceeded 100 Mn, with over 326 Mn mobile subscriptions — or roughly 34% of its total population. The emergence of new players led to the establishment of Indonesia Fintech Association in September 2015.

A report by Daily Social and Fintech Indonesia says that Indonesia has entered the Fintech 3.0 stage, where innovation is championed by startups instead of financial institutions as in Fintech 2.0 stage, or a joint venture of financial institutions and tech companies in Fintech 2.5.

The digital payments sector has emerged as the clear winner since the IFA data shows that around 43% of startups of the fintech pie belong to that segment. They are majorly spread across payments sector, from mobile payment to payment gateway companies etc. Suffice to say, ecommerce has been the biggest push factor for the same because, with the shifting consumption patterns, it led to the growth of payment avenues where one could complete their financial transactions with the ease of a click. For people to shop online, you have to make it really easy for them to pay.

Echoing the same, Chiragh Kirpalani, founder of digital payments platform Ayopop which recently secured funding says “Digital payments currently is still under the closed-loop model. Where each startup has either their own internal wallet or store credits and can only be used with-in their own services offered. The market is starting to evolve and startups are in merchant acquisition mode at this point. From what I see, the first few sectors that will start to have “Pay Via XYZ Wallet / Brand” is going to be online ecommerce, followed by the F&B sector and then comes Entertainment (theme parks, cinema Chains, Karaoke Chains, etc).”

Payment also has many subcategories. -whether it is making it easier to pay for online goods with cash; to focussing on the cards people already have in their pockets. There are certain players that are working towards linking existing transaction terminals like ATMs or online banking with online shopping, while others want to convince users to store value in digital wallets.

Fintech Startups That Are Paving The Way

While the Indonesian fintech industry has seen the entry of various players, here’s a consolidated view of the ones that have led the way with their disruptive technologies:

fintech-indonesia-banks-startups

Deposits, Lending, And Capital Raising

Startups under this category allow users to obtain loans or funds for numerous purposes such as for business, social project and marriage. Both crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending technologies fall into this category. The online lending space is dominated by players included Modalku, Taralite, and Investree. The online lending segment has a huge market demand in the country, owing to the fact that a major population of the country has a low credit score and SMEs can benefit from these alternative services.

fintech-indonesiaTaralite: Launched in 2016, the startup sanctions financial loans with relatively low interest, starting from 1%, for education, marriage, childbirth, house renovation, vehicle purchase, property & housing. It also provides loans without collateral. It recently secured $6.3 Mn from Japanese financial services provider, SBI Group.

fintech-indonesiaMODALKU: Founded in 2016, it is an online lending platform, that provides loans up to IDR. 2 Bn, with relatively affordable interest. Its focus areas are SMEs looking for working capital, with minimum one year of operations. It raised $7.5 Mn in its Series A round of funding from Sequoia in August 2016.

fintech-indonesiaInvestree: Launched in 2015, Investree has a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform that connects people who want to invest money with people who want to borrow money. Investree administers the lending process by verifying borrower’s creditworthiness, facilitating the fund between borrower and investors, and documenting legal loan agreement. In June, it secured the commitment of a Series A round of funding from Kejora Ventures.

fintech-indonesiaKitabisa.com: A social crowdfunding platform where, individuals can use it to initiate campaigns and donations, as well as view and choose the campaigns to which they can donate.

Market Provisioning

Under this category, startups function as resource books to anyone entering a potential fintech market. They provide users with relevant data, assistance, and guidance regarding various markets.

fintech-indonesiaCekaja.com: Launched in 2013, the platform allows users to compare various financial products at one place. The products include but are not limited to vehicle and health insurances, credit cards, housing loans, Internet and cable TV packages, and SME loans. It secured Series B funding in October 2016.

fintech-indonesiaTaniHub: Tanihub is an ecommerce platform that connects farmers and buyers and eliminates the need for middlemen.

Investment & Risk Management

Startups functioning in the automated processing, dissemination of investment, and risk management advice for individuals and companies fall under this particular sub-category.

fintech-indonesiaJOJONOMIC: JOJONOMIC digitises the entire employee reimbursement process for an employee. Launched in 2015, the startup offers an application-based reimbursement system to minimise the company’s miscalculation risk and accelerates the reimbursement processes. It raised $1.5 Mn in its Series A round, in September 2016.

fintech-indonesiaRajaPremi:  Founded in 2014, RajaPremi is an online insurance marketplace. It enables users to select various insurance programmes, compare them at a single place, and finally purchase the most suitable insurance. It secured undisclosed funding in 2015.

fintech-indonesiaBareksa: Founded in 2016, it is an online and integrated marketplace for mutual funds. It makes investing in mutual funds easier, by providing the necessary options, tutorials, and tools for mutual funds investments. The startup secured undisclosed amount in funding in April this year.

Digital Payments

This category introduces customers to novel ways of both online and offline payments, and other related opportunities in regards to payments.

Kudo: Launched in 2014, the startup has a website and a mobile application that enables anyone to be an online entrepreneur without having to personally stock the items. Verified sellers or ‘agents’ are free to choose from roughly three million types of products to be sold. Buyers will pick their products, contact the respective agents and agree on the payment method. It was acquired by ride sharing platform Grab in February this year.

DOKU:  A 2007 founded startup, Doku is the biggest player in the Indonesian payments scene. Functioning as an online and offline payment gateway for businesses and individuals, DOKU is an e-wallet equipped with links to credit card and electronic money. It functions like Paytm and users can also be used to send money to offline retailers registered on the network.

fintech-indonesiat-cash: Founded in 2011, it is an electronic money service provided by Telkomsel (a telecom giant). Users are required to install the T-Wallet app on their mobiles and equip their mobiles with the t-cash stickers. The stickers are to be scanned at merchants with t-cash scanning machines upon payment. Other forms of payments such as utility bills, train tickets, and concert tickets can also be done using the app.

fintech-indonesiaAyopop: Launched in 2016, Ayopop is an app that specialises in bill payments. In other words, it enables users to pay for things like their phone bills, electricity, and Internet services through its app. The startup secured funding earlier this year from GREE Ventures.

POS (Point-Of-Sales Startups)

fintech-indonesiaPawoon: Launched in 2013, Pawoon is a cloud-based Point of Sales (POS) application for SMEs. It helps them become more efficient and productive in running their business, by providing a platform that gives them the tools to thrive in the current era of connected commerce. It closed its Series A round earlier this year.

fintech-indonesiaDealPOS: DealPOS is a cloud-based point-of-sale ( POS ), inventory and accounting software for business which was also launched in 2013. DealPOS was founded to provide small businesses with an easy-to-use software to help manage their inventory and billing activities.

Cryptocurrencies

Says Hari Sivan, founder and CEO, SoCash, “Cryptocurrencies are far away from mass adoption for value exchange, the incremental benefits over other payment options are overrated. Cross-selling is something all business eventually do, so perhaps a data driven approach may give some businesses are the chance to disintermediate others. In a large & diverse market with growing demographics, the “next big thing” is hard to predict. However, it will be safe to bet on software-led innovation, shift towards renewables in our energy mix and automation forcing a massive need to re-skill the workforce in the next two decades.”

fintech-indonesiaQuoine: Quoine is an advanced Bitcoin trading platform offering margin trading and algo-trading across a number of currency pairs which was launched in 2014. It secured $20 Mn in its latest funding round in June 2016.

fintech-indonesiaBitcoin.co.id: Launched in 2013, it is the biggest Indonesian Bitcoin Exchange that acts as the backbone for the entire finance ecosystem in Indonesia implementing cryptocurrency technology in the payments system and remittance business. The startup secured $50K in an angel round of funding in February 2014.

In 2016 alone, the total disclosed funding in fintech in Indonesia reached $36 Mn (IDR 486 Bn), which includes IPOs and investment from parent company outside of the country. With eight investment activities in 2016, East Ventures came out to be the most active local venture capital which poured funds into fintech startups in the country. On the other hand, 500 Startups took the title of the  most active foreign VC in Indonesia’s fintech ecosystem, with 3 investments in 2016.

Banks, Fintech, & Startups: The Holy Trinity

With the advent of startups in the last few years, the banks have seen itself changing from a predominantly transactional business to a customer-centric one. With shifting consumption patterns, it is only a matter of time that the digital natives will conquer traditional players when it comes to customer acquisition, thus changing the industry ecosystem and forcing financial organisations to shape up or ship out. The digital sector is evolving rapidly and encompassing each facet of banks and fintech startups today, need to be on top of their game to stay ahead of the competition.

New-Age financial institutions aka fintech startups, like online lending platform, can offer affordable loans for customers as higher efficiency translates to less operational cost, which can pose a threat to the existence of banks, especially to those that are still reluctant to provide digital services. At the same time, the current penetration rate of fintech services in Indonesia is below 2%, as per a GIV report. This strengthens the position of banks as still the dominant players when it comes to customer retention and the Internet penetration.

Fintech, will thus prove to be a double edged sword for the Indonesian banks. On one hand, the traditional brick-and-mortar banks are being pushed to speed up their games and adopt technology as their primary vehicle for customer retention, just like in India.

For instance, earlier this year, in January 2017, Bank Tabungan Pensiunan Nasional (BTPN) launched its own fintech service, called Jenius, which allows users to open accounts in banks via a mobile device and manage their own personal finances. Users can also give a nickname to their banks account, instead of the conservative lengthy account number. This shows that banks have now become open and receptive to the idea of tech-efficient credit systems and are open to entering into strategic partnerships with various startups for lending and payments.

A successful fintech ecosystem of the future will be where all the market participants connect engage and share ideas across vibrant communities and networks as well as identify and convert opportunities into business. In this age of penetrative technology, no market participant can afford to operate individually.

Government And The Fintech Opportunity

For any new venture to succeed, in a country where the number of potential entrepreneurs is rising by the day, the role of administrative bodies and government towards boosting the emerging tech sector and other financial institutions, becomes very crucial. No technical and industrial sector can grow without adequate support from its administrative bodies.

The government, being receptive of developments in the fintech sector, launched the Fintech Association of Indonesia in 2015. As per an official statement, it has more than 55 registered startups and has identified 120 more.

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The country’s President, Joko Widodo, in June 2016 also launched an initiative called the ‘1,000 Startups Movement.’ The initiative aims to develop 1,000 startups by the end of 2020, the total valuation for which is expected to be around $10 Bn. Additionally, it also plans to establish a dedicated section within its main stock exchange to host initial public offerings by startups. It wants to set up a new trading market, that will be called the ‘technology board” – at the Indonesia Stock Exchange with an aim to ease the process for founders and investors to take their companies public in an easier way.

With an aim to provide small business owners with necessary financial assistance, the government of Indonesia has launched PENSA (Program for Eastern Indonesian Small and Medium Enterprise Assistance) in collaboration with the International Finance Center (IFC).

In November 2016, the Indonesian government, through the Central Bank, had launched the Regulation on Payments Transaction Processing to provide legal assurance for new and existing payments business activities. It has also created a Fintech Office whose work also includes capacity building and regulatory sandboximplementation.

In December 2016, the FSA issued a regulation on online peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, only one month after the Bank of Indonesia launched operations of a special office for fintech. As per a report by the Jakarta Post, the government has also implemented digital signatures in the country, and the process will come into being by the second quarter of 2017.

Challenges And The Road Ahead

FinTech can be developed to reach millions of Indonesians by providing easier access to a wide range of financial products tailored to the characteristics of the community. Like financial services in general, fintech is a business of trust, and incidences of frauds would lead people to abandon the tech.

Secondly, providing a solid back-end infrastructure is very important to support venture capitalists. If the exit infrastructure is not available, venture capitalists would then choose to list startups abroad, with better chances of gain from its secondary markets. Therefore, the Indonesia Stock Exchange, OJK, startup founders, and venture capitalists should be sitting together to find best practices for this issue, such as a parallel stock exchange.

The government too needs to come to the front and issue some extensive rules and regulations, when it comes to operating fintech in Indonesia. At the same time, regulations that will be issued by the OJK should not be too rigid, so as to provide a balanced climate. Some regulatory concerns include business licensing, business operation, governance, supervision and inspection, reporting obligations, and equities. Maintaining and promoting enthusiasm for the sector, with a climate of fair opportunities takes absolute essence.

At the same time, secondary factors like education, information, and Internet penetration would also need a boost so as to push the bandwagon of Indonesian fintech startups further. The fintech ecosystem that has roped in banks and startups alike in its waves would go till which great extents, only time will tell.

Note: We at Inc42 take our ethics very seriously. More information about it can be found here.

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