Photo: Courtesy of Shinta Dhanuwardoyo

In this second part of our interview, Shinta Dhanuwardoyo gives us her take on the growth of digital agencies in Indonesia and her role as the Head of Digital Business, E-Commerce and Start-Up Development with the Indonesia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN), where she is currently creating a platform for start-ups and venture capitalists in Indonesia. Find out about her take on creativity and her number-one tip for entrepreneurs below.

Why the name Bubu?

It’s my dog’s name [laughs]. I knew you would ask me that question because most people are curious about it. I think it’s a good marketing strategy because people will remember the name as it’s short and catchy.

When starting up Bubu, what were some of the challenges you faced?

A lot of things were challenging for me. It was hard to find people to work at Bubu because not a lot of people know how to code or how to design a website. Getting clients is challenging as well because some people don’t even use the Internet. As an entrepreneur, you have to think about money as well because you want your company to survive. So when starting out, I took a lot of side jobs designing company profiles and logos even though we are supposed to be an agency that creates websites. As an entrepreneur, while waiting for your core business to flourish, there’s no harm in thinking of other, creative ways to get money.

What do you think about the growth of digital agencies in Indonesia?

I can see that digital agencies are growing well in Indonesia because everyone needs digital marketing. We [Bubu Digital Agency] call ourselves a data-driven digital agency now because all our strategies should be based on data—nowadays, to create a good marketing strategy we need data. As a digital agency that has been around for 22 years, we need to continuously work on improving ourselves to the next level, and, for us, data-driven strategy is our next level.

Can you tell me more about your roles in KADIN?

I am the Head of Digital Business, E-commerce and Start-up Development in KADIN. Now, my team and I are creating a start-up platform called We are creating this platform as a gateway for start-ups who are looking for mentors or venture capitalists to help them.

This initiative happened because I get a lot of messages from start-ups who reach out to me knowing that I am an investor and mentor at the same time. That is why I created this platform, which will list down all available mentors and venture capitals in Indonesia that they can reach out to for help. In addition, a lot of my friends who are investors are also interested in reaching out to these start-ups but they don’t know how. Seeing this, I hope this platform can be a meeting point for them.

How do you see the future of e-commerce in Indonesia?

Being a country with more than 70,000 islands, we are highly populated, and e-commerce will definitely become huge in Indonesia. Once we have a better payment system and WiFi connections, e-commerce will grow even bigger here. But at the end of the day, the number of big players will be limited. Nevertheless, there will be spaces for niche e-commerce players, so you still have the potential to create profits by selling certain things that are difficult to find.

What do you do to stimulate creativity?

Fundamentally, I am a very creative person and I believe that my background in architecture helps a lot—I am naturally someone who loves art and design. I also try to become more creative by reading books and travelling to different countries. When you travel, you get the chance to see and experience new things that will stimulate your senses and creativity.

What are the common misconceptions about Indonesia when you are travelling in other countries?

In general, people already know that Indonesia is a significant country when it comes to population and market potential. However, they might not know the concept of Jakarta as a metropolitan city, but this is changing because Indonesia has been making news. The first time the Facebook team arrived in Jakarta is because I invited them to our event, Idbyte. So I put the event in Pacific Place Mall because I wanted them to see a mall where you can get a Ferrari on the first floor and groceries on the lower ground floor [laughs]. Basically, I want them to see that Jakarta is an advanced city, too.

What is your advice for entrepreneurs?

I think it is very important to network, and I am brave enough to say that is it more important than looking for funding. If you have a good network, you can solve many problems. So I actually started a non-profit organisation in Silicon Valley where I take Indonesian start-ups for one week to open up my network for them. I can take them to see the head developer of Apple or take them to have lunch with the Indonesian team that works at Google in Silicon Valley. That is what I do every year.

See Also: Shinta Dhanuwardoyo Talks About Her Digital Creations: Bubu & IDBYTE

Tags: If You Have A Good Network, You Can Solve Many Problems