You can see the fire in Andrew Tanner Setiawan’s eyes when he talks about Karta. The fire climbs higher especially when he talks with so much conviction about how he’s currently helping motorcycle drivers earn additional income, which has been his team's main goal from the beginning. Andrew, along with his partners Jeff Hendrata and Tjokro Wimantara, wanted to help motorcycle taxi drivers, whose income is getting less and less each year, to gain additional income and improve their lives and those of their families. Indonesia Tatler recently sat with Andrew Tanner Setiawan to find out how Karta is helping both companies and motorcycle drivers revolutionise advertising.
Can you tell us about your background?
I was raised in New Zealand, went to a public school, joined the army cadets, and worked from an early age doing odd jobs at a supermarket. After my time in New Zealand I came back to Indonesia to finish my high schooling before heading to the US to start my higher education. There, I went to Loyola Marymount University and worked on campus, at an agribusiness company, and with Mercedes-Benz. Since I came back to Indonesia, I worked at Jakarta Consulting Group, another agribusiness company, and started a restaurant and bar with a few friends. This was all before Karta was conceptualised.
How did you come up with the idea to start Karta? What was the motivation behind it?
Karta was the brainchild of the three of us: Jeff Hendrata, Tjokro Wimantara, and myself. We all had different vocations, careers, and backgrounds at the time, but what made us click was our passion for trying to help humanity, especially regarding poverty. At that time, we thought with the resources we had, we could one day save enough to build a school, or jointly sponsor a few children. But we never thought we would be able to make a bigger impact in the short term.
During this time, we met every so often to brainstorm at a food court (our first makeshift office) about what we could do to make ends meet before the idea of Karta dawned on us. We started talking to motorcycle drivers and got to know that they could improve their lives with additional income. These people were fighters and we wanted to help improve their life situations. So we got together and tried to think of how we could help them get additional income without drastically changing their lifestyles or impacting their current revenue stream.
These people were fighters and we wanted to help improve their life situations.
That’s when we thought of moving billboards from buildings and poles to motorcycles. We would be creating a new and never-been-done-before advertising platform, and at the same time we could provide the drivers with additional income and help them improve their lives.
We met with some industry leaders, got their opinions, and started to grow this concept into what Karta is today: a social enterprise, trying to give the best advertising platform and also helping as many motorcycle drivers as we can.
As the co-founder, what were the factors you focused on to create traction for Karta in the beginning?
In the beginning, we wanted to have a proof of concept. We wanted to show that this new medium would not only be effective, but also something that our clients would love. Because even we if we had the best product in the world, if the brands and drivers didn’t want to use it, it would have been useless. So in the beginning, we focused on getting as much information and feedback from both clients and drivers to make sure Karta was something they wanted, not something only we wanted.
What were the thoughts that kept you up at night when starting out Karta? And how do you overcome your fears and worries?
We had concerns that the product we had envisioned would not be well received. We did prepare a lot and got all the information we could before launching. I’m not saying we had a flawless launch, but we did our best to think of all possible outcomes and had back-up plans in the event things did not go as they should. The Karta that you know today is not the same as the Karta back when we were still working from a garage. You have to adapt and prepare with the information you have and at the end of the day you will have to take a leap.
Want more? Stay tuned for our part 2 interview with Andrew Tanner Setiawan!