As the CEO of Bizhare, Heinrich Vincent wants to fund SMEs in Indonesia because he believes that they are the foundation of all local economies in the country.
Through the equity crowdfunding platform Bizhare, people can invest and become part-owners in franchises such as Indomaret and Es Teler 77 restaurants with little capital. We caught up with Vincent and talked about equity crowdfunding and how Bizhare can help SMEs in Indonesia.
Can you share with us your background?
I graduated with an architecture major and did some freelance projects with my friends, but I saw that I was more of a businessman, so I decided to deal with businesses as an investor and as a businessman. I found opportunities in investment, but I saw that other investors in Indonesia lacked funds, so I decided to join hands with them and proceed to invest in mini markets and many other businesses. After a while, we thought: why stop at Indomaret? Maybe we could do something bigger for our communities, especially for the small and medium-sized businesses in Indonesia.
So that is the motivation behind Bizhare?
Yes. I wondered: what if we don’t stop at Indomaret and allow other kinds of SMEs to enjoy the same benefits? So I decided to join the 1000 Startup programme by KIBAR, and from there, I found other co-founders to create Bizhare. My goal is to create a platform for people to invest in and make significant progress for SMEs in Indonesia.
Does the 1000 Startup programme really helped to solidify your idea?
I met people from all kinds of backgrounds, and from there I met my co-founders who are now in charge of IT and finance. Other than that, we also receive plenty of mentoring and collaboration opportunities.
How is Bizhare going to help SMEs in Indonesia?
Fifty per cent of SMEs in Indonesia still lack the funding to expand their businesses. Bizhare wants to help these businesses to expand because we see SMEs as the foundation for the local economy in Indonesia. The fact is that around 97 per cent of the workforce in Indonesia depends on SMEs, but most SMEs don’t have any assets as collateral, and most of them still have to rent a place to work.
Tell us more about how Bizhare works
Bizhare is a platform for people to invest in businesses from capital as low as Rp5 million, which entitles them to earn returns per month. Investors will have a certificate of ownership and we will link up with the business accounting system and POS system so profit distribution will be fair and equal. Of course, there will be ups and downs, but we will review the profits each month and see which areas can be maximised in order to achieve optimum profits.
What were the challenges in building Bizhare?
In the beginning, we wanted to help SMEs, but we realised that it is a struggle to help SMEs that are still traditional and lacking in financial management. So for now, we are focusing on franchise businesses first because not only do we see good opportunities there, but we also want to build up investors’ trust first, which will enable us to further help SMEs.
With that many shareholders in a business are there problems?
Back then, when I invested in mini markets with a group of friends, the main problem we faced was trust. How can we trust the director to distribute the returns fairly? When it comes to money, despite our close relationships, it was still a sensitive topic. So given that this is a problem I faced in the past, now we do profit sharing automatically through the system.
What is the most important project that you’re doing right now and how are you going to make it happen?
Basically, we are trying to automate our platform and predict how businesses can become successful through machine learning and AI. The system will be able to make predictions according to a set formula and it can be used to analyse investor profiles, too, so we can learn investor behaviour as well see what kind of businesses will suit certain investors with certain sets of characteristics. And we can generate recommendations for investors, too, after learning about his or her investment behaviour. For the business side, we are currently categorising SMEs according to their risk profiles.
When it comes to hiring talents, what kind of talents are you looking for?
I want people who are already familiar with the work environment and, for me, skill is a must, but attitude is more important. Attitude to learn, work hard, and have initiative are some other things that are important for me.
Where do you see Bizhare in 5 years?
For Bizhare, we see ourselves like a B2B supplier in the future. So let’s say after a business is funded by us, we plan to supply the business with goods and raw materials to help it get the cheapest price in the market. Moreover, big companies can have free distribution channels from our platform.
If you had the chance to do anything in the world, with no possibility of failure, what would you do?
I would give financial freedom to all Indonesians so they can work for their passions instead of for money.