Moses Lo and Tessa Wijaya On Raising $530 Million To Build Southeast Asia’s Fastest Growing Payment Solution For SMBs
Manage episode 331431223 series 2456926
Moses Lo and Tessa Wijaya recently added another $300M to their funding to help enable the next generation of successful SMEs and large enterprises. Their company, Xendit has acquired funding from top-tier investors like Accel, Goat Capital, and Amasia. Go to Zencastr and fill out the contact information so Zencastr can help you, bring your business story to life.
In this episode, you will learn:
- Pitching and managing investors
- Southeast Asia
- Building your team
- Working with regulators
- Juggling the micro and macro factors in your business
For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash.
The Ultimate Guide To Pitch Decks
Moreover, I also provided a commentary on a pitch deck from an Uber competitor that has raised over $400 million (see it here).
Remember to unlock for free the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.
Please subscribe to unlock this content. Just enter your email below.
About Moses Lo:
Moses Lo is the CEO and co-founder of Xendit, the first Indonesian company to go through YCombinator’s accelerator program and was named one of YCombinator’s top 100 companies of 2021. Through his advanced education and professional experience in the US, Moses gained valuable insight into global tech accessibility and Silicon Valley’s startup ecosystem. Eventually Moses decided to return home and share his knowledge towards building Southeast Asia’s next digital economy.
In founding Xendit, Moses has built a modern, reliable, and scalable digital payments infrastructure uniquely designed for Southeast Asia—long considered an “unbankable” region by many. After spending time in Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and the U.S., Moses recognized the opportunity and potential in Southeast Asia.
Moses has been recognized by Forbes Asia’s 30 Under 30 list. He received his Bachelor’s in commerce, information systems management and finance from the University of New South Wales and his MBA from the University of California, Berkeley.
See How I Can Help You With Your Fundraising Efforts
- Fundraising Process : get guidance from A to Z.
- Materials : our team creates epic pitch decks and financial models
- Investor Access : connect with the right investors for your business and close them
Connect with Moses Lo:
About Tessa Wijaya
Tessa Wijaya is the Chief Operating Officer and co-founder of Xendit, the fastest growing digital payments infrastructure in Southeast Asia. Tessa co-founded Xendit with a highly diverse international team to build Southeast Asia’s first modern and reliable payments infrastructure, uniquely designed for the complexities of the region. An Indonesian citizen with advanced education in the US and Australia, Tessa possesses a deep understanding of local and regional culture enabling Xendit to successfully tap into the Southeast Asian market and digitize its wide array of businesses — from small Indonesian kiosks (warungs) to large enterprises. Tessa is a champion of local businesses in Southeast Asia, and comes from a long line of entrepreneurs herself.
Besides building Xendit, Tessa is also a champion for women entrepreneurs, spearheading the Women in Tech Indonesia platform. Tessa received her undergraduate degree from Syracuse University and her postgraduate degree from the University of Sydney.
Connect with Tessa Wijaya
Read the Full Transcription of the Interview:
Hey, guys. Today’s episode is brought to you by Zencastr. I remember back in the day when I was looking at putting together Zencastr. I was looking for a solution that would help me in putting things together. Essentially, this is what allowed me to bring DealMakers to life. Basically, Zencastr, what it is is an all-in-one solution where you just send a link to the person that you’re looking to interview. They would plug in their computer with their video, with the audio, and then you are good to go. You would piece everything together, give it to your audio engineer or even edit it yourself, and you are off to the races. Now, if you’re looking at getting into podcasting, you should definitely check Zencastr out, and you could also get a 30% discount, and this is the discount code that you will be able to redeem by going to Zen.ai/dealmakers0. Lastly, I was very much blown away when I found out that investing in wine has been one of the best-kept secrets amongst the wealthy. This is now not the case anymore. I came across this solution, which is called VinoVest, and they are a great solution that allows you to diversify investing by implementing or including wines into your portfolio. Take a look at this: wine has one-third of the volatility of the stock market, and yet it has outperformed the global equities market over the past 30 years with 10.6% annualized revenues. It’s a really good way to diversify your portfolio, and you could also get two months of free investing by just going to Zen.ai/dealmakers, and by going there, you will be able to redeem your discount.
* * * * * *
Alejandro: Alrighty hello everyone and welcome to the deal maker show. So today. We have very very powerful co-founders. You know that are joining us to share with us their story I mean they have built a rocket ship. They have a really big announcement also to share in terms of financing round that they’re announcing to the world. And I think that you’re all going to get very much inspired with your story. So I guess without further ado. Let’s welcome our guest today moses law and Tessa wijas welcome to the show. So look.
Moses Lo: Thanks for having us. Yeah, yes.
Alejandro: So let’s do a little of a walkthrough memory lane here. So moses you know in your case you were born in Singapore so tell us about life growing up.
Moses Lo: Um, yeah I I’m half indonesian half malaysian was born in Singapore grew up all over Southeast Asia then moved to Australia did university there joined vcg so made a lot of powerpoint slides then went to Berkeley. Short sin at Amazon and then send it.
Alejandro: So in your case you know bcgi hear that there’s a lot of people that they go into consulting and that get really great education and training on how you’re able to grab like None big problem and break it down into small little problems and then essentially. Tackle these small problems and that really helps you to ah to go about execution as well. So how how? what do you think that consulting has taught you about execution.
Moses Lo: For us I think consulting teaches you the right way to think and you can help structure your thoughts on execution I think it was a bit lacking the early part later on and in my time at Bcd I remember telling a partner I’ll do a case if I don’t have to make any slides and the reason was I needed I wanted to learn how to execute. That case I was lucky to be able to actually spend time with people on the ground actually doing work rather than just talking about doing work and so I’ll learn a little bit of execution. There. The other things I did is I started None businesses on the side to teach myself. How to how to start something and build so I started tailor-made suit business selling suits. At ah, high price points and I figured if I could learn to sell that would help me where I whatever I did next and then I started as a thai business online to teach myself seo um on the side so that I could learn how to get things ranked on Google what did.
Alejandro: And why the us how do you land in the us you know, wanted to go to Berkeley and and love that stuff. Why the us.
Moses Lo: Yeah I wanted to come to Silicon Valley to learn how people think I was but in Australia a small country. We kind of think about our part of the world but coming to us kind of changes your paradigm None of my favorite examples here is when I was at cal I spoke with one of my professors in office hours. I came with all these business ideas things that I wanted to do and my memory of it is very nice guy. Som ja was nicer than this but my memory is 5 minutes in he said let just stop talking so I waited and he said if your idea is not worth $1,000,000,000 don’t talk to me about it and I took that kind of this as this jarring kind of reprimand. But when I left the room I thought about it more and I was like well he expected me to come in with billion dollar ideas so therefore he’s actually the none person to believe that I can come up with billion dollar ideas not my mom not my dad but my professor so just an example of how Silicon Valley kind of chili changed my paradigm and mindset for startups.
Alejandro: And in in tell us about being introduced to Tessa I know that it was a mutual friend. So how does Tessa come into the picture.
Moses Lo: Yeah, it was a mutual friend who is actually a customer the customer for a long time. Big fan of the business tries out all our new products and I was we were looking for kind of another senior person and he mentioned tests that we met I remember in him Starbucks in a mall in Jakarta. And it was ah instant chemistry. We agreed on a lot of how things should work and then they’re telling that.
Alejandro: Amazing. So then so then tesa in your case, you know you were born in Indonesia so so give us a walkthrough memory lane too. How was live for you there in Indonesia.
Tessa Wijaya: Um, yeah I’m I’m homegrown I actually grew up in a really small town in West Java so experience you know, running around flying kites. Um, playing with pebbles very very far away from big city life. Moved to Jakarta got some off to school overseas so I did live in and Sydney and then the us for a little bit started to come back because I think you know that’s Indonesia is where I could make a really great impact I felt that you know I’d been given a lot of great gifts being able to go school overseas get a great education. And it was time to give something back landed in private equity though. So a bit of a pit stop there. Um I worked in the first homegrown fund in Indonesia so we were very proud of that we had a lot of blue chip lps or investors got to look at a lot of investment. A lot of um, traditional companies being built. In the market and I thought that was extremely inspiring to meet so many entrepreneurs that were doing great things and got a little bit fomo so I was a little bit jealous I was like hey I also want to be an entrepreneur you know Indonesia is a place where a lot of people start their own business and I was like I want to be there. Um, at the time though I realized you know I don’t want to do something in the traditional space I want to do something a little bit bigger I think tech is going to be the way to go I was meeting a few people who are running e-commerce sites and I was like ah I was flabbergasted mind blown that it wasn’t just about pretty close. It was about. Having the right algorithms to have your customers be able to choose the white colors that you like without having to search you know for pages and pages and I was like this is it I’m sold. Um, and then yeah I met moses and it was I think a work love at none sight.
Alejandro: So then in that case I mean for you I mean private I mean you guys have backgrounds that are very interesting I mean some of the most successful entrepreneur entrepreneurs. They either have the consulting background the investment banking background or the private equity background. So in this case, you have 2 out of the 3 which is um, very amazing now in your case tesa.
Tessa Wijaya: Good practice for the present.
Alejandro: You know for private equity. What would you say that experience gave you when it came to Pattern recognition and to really understand the things that typically work well from the ones that don’t work Well when you’re looking at successful or not so successful companies.
Tessa Wijaya: Yeah, look none things none whenever we’re going to invest in something we’ll look at the founders we look at their quality. Are they going to be able to get this business. Successful. You know with pe we’re looking at traditional businesses so we typically can see all the track record beforehand. Look at you know how they’ve performed the past few years but I think again, it comes back to who’s running the business which is kind of the principle I had when I was trying to meet ah cofounders or founders and tech companies I looked at moses and I was like. I think he can he can do good things I think I can work with him and that was how I end up. It’s ended. Yes, you pairing between a couple of options actually at the time right? That’s right there were there were other founders who were like yes we want to build a business indonesia Malaysia thai I’m on one go I’m like.
Tessa Wijaya: What do you mean? This is Southeast Asia we have like what about Twenty Five Thousand islands Indonesia Malaysia and talent are completely different. We don’t even speak the same languages and they were like yeah we’ll run this through Singapore I’m like if you’re not in market. You’re not committed so then I saw moses in Starbucks and I was like right? He’s moved his family here. So he’s committed the other co-founder beau he’s also you know capped himself here I was like this is where I want to be this is who I want to work with and you know there are a lot of exciting things in market and you have to be there to be able to grow the company and yeah, that was it. Yeah.
Alejandro: So that was obviously the time where where magic happened now and the co-founders. You know came together now in this case, you know Moses you know had like that idea doormant you know as they say you know they take time to incubate and then you know eventually he brought it to live and and this I help with definitely shaping it and. And really becoming you know a team and bringing it with your you know your employees you know to where it is today. but but I guess you know most is when you had the idea they’re incuating. You know what was that process like what were the sequences of events. All the way to that moment where you decided to give your notice you know while you were working at Amazon. Okay.
Tessa Wijaya: Sure so we started with a we we saw with a bitcoin hackathon berkeley versus Stanford Andreessen Horard sponsored and we managed to win that hackathon and so that was the none time I think we said as a team we’re gonna do this. This is now worth our attention. We. Went into I c with this bitcoin remintance idea. This is the none time bitcoin was cool in 152 and we sold them on the idea halfway through we then realized we weren’t getting the traction we needed compared to the average Yc company and so I remember Justin Khan 12 minutes into an office hours said why don’t you try venmo for Indonesia. So then we pivoted again and then within None that within six weeks we’ve got None users so there’s very fast ramp up in this in this wallet space and out of that we managed to raise the seed from. Excel and and others and then at that point we met tess and I met and then about four months in we had about None users but we figured that we didn’t actually have the right playbook to win in the long run. We didn’t think we were the right actors and so we invented this kind of.
Alejandro: So what? what? what was that experiment this um tell us about that experiment.
Moses Lo: was clear that maybe it wasn’t the right timing yet. The payment infrastructure wasn’t really there. I came in I was really bullish on payments but I was also really bullish on serving smmes. So I had started a side business of my own I think fun fact by the way. Ah you see a lot of success stories of Cofounders. You don’t realize that they’ve probably started None businesses beforehand and failed. Um, that’s a whole other podcast. Probably.
Moses Lo: Um, anyway, back to this particular story I was like okay, we’ll do payments but I want an smme spin. So basically I wanted to make shopify light. So a checkout page a place where ah smes can upload their inventory send that link through Whatsapp you know and be able to sell to your customers. You have to remember that in in places like Indonesia a lot of transactions occur through social media or through chat platforms and that was what I was really passionate about so moses and I went all right? Let’s race who can get that traction. Um I made the shopify light. Moses ah created apis for the payment. Our none payment products and unfortunately I lost so that was very devastating um two months in I had to kill my product and you know I had to cry in a corner and come back. Ah, Moses obviously started out or kicked off the payment infrastructure products that we have today and yeah, that was it well.
Alejandro: So for the people that are listening moses maybe to expand on that. What ended up becoming the business model of send it. Ah how how do you guys make money.
Moses Lo: With the stripe of southeast asia so we help merchants accept payments send payments also hold money on top of that we have a lending business and a fraud detection business and a back office automation business. So we’ve started with this payments platform. And then built on top of it to serve the merchants around Southeast Asia
Alejandro: And ah towards the building. The team I mean Tessa maybe what can you tell us about how is it different from building a team perhaps in in Indonesia from maybe like what maybe people are more used to hearing. Maybe the bay area for the people that are listening or in New York how is it different there going about building a team right.
Tessa Wijaya: It’s completely completely different when we started out in 19016 the startup scene was not quite as robust. No one knew what a startup was and we were having a really hard time actually trying to recruit people. Ah, so we did I think one of our None employees. Ah we managed to convince the join ands endedit. She was doing ah customer support when installing our internet in our first office which was actually a house so we ah with bravado said hey why don’t you come join zeit this startup that’s going to do amazing things. She was like. Let me think about that and she did so that was our very um, one of our very none employees I think the other hack that we did when you’re comparing to a place like the us you have this deep bench of people that want to be entrepreneurs people that want to join startups. It’s a cool thing to do I went to cal so out of cal wants to do startups but in in. In Southeast asia at the time that’s that wasn’t true. A little bit changed now. So we had an interesting hack what happened for us is in Indonesia berkeley has really high recall in terms of universities in the us and one of the best computer science programs on the planet. So we said um. Right? Let’s do something a bit different in how we recruit talent we went to the one school that produces technical talent at time and produces 150 devs ze year. But it’s a best score for it and we said the other hack we’re gonna do is couple our Berkeley with groups of friends. So we said all right dear one group of friends about None people. We give you all office. We can’t pay you as much as maybe ah, a unicorn can or someone else can but we will teach you to code like Berkeley taught us to could and we thought maybe None or None people would take that offer but all None took up the office. So from one day we went from like None people to to 15 and that became a very none engineering group. We then took that lesson and applied it around the region. So a startup went bankrupt in my hometown where I grew up. We just hid the whole team in our none set of product managers are actually lawyers that we turned into product managers and then we hide the whole friendship group and so with this history of trying to find what’s a little bit unique about what we’re doing or how we can approach. Ah, talent and get groups of friends at the same time and for the None people at send it. We all come from these small groups of friends. Yeah.
Alejandro: And now in the us you know companies of this nature. You know there’s a lot of regulatorullaatory hurdles that you need to go through so I guess how does it work in Indonesia. Do you have like those type of regulatory. You know things that you need to overcome or or how do you go about that this. Ah so.
Moses Lo: Um.
Moses Lo: Yeah, definitely so look I think that’s one of the biggest challenges of operating in Southeast Asia and again I have to remind you guys. You know there are startups and abundance in the us when we first started out tech was. Extremely new. We had basically None ride-hailing apps or None right? haling hiiling apps who were just coming in regulators didn’t know what was what? so it was probably a bit of a shock for them. Um, so for us, it’s about um, about having that dialogue about understanding how to understand what they care about as regulators. About talking them through hey this is what we want to do? This is how we’re going to make an impact in the country and I think um, you know they were also bought on the mission. They became very supportive of zeended um, they have since actually crafted regulations about payments. After we started out right? So we were one of the none to provide Apis for payments and now yeah, we’ve got a great relationship where we’re working together to continue to develop new products in the country.
Alejandro: And obviously you know a business like this requires money. so so moses how much capital has the company raised today and then also what’s going on what what do you guys? Want to announce today.
Moses Lo: Where we’ve raised total 538,000,000 today. We’re announcing 300,000,000 that we’ve raised ku to an insider leading the round I think 2 blue chip investors especially in environmentman like this and then they’re coming in and joined by insiders like. Excel Partners client a tiger from around the world and then we also have regional and local investors coming in as well.
Alejandro: Now you’re you’re throwing those numbers very lightly I mean when you hear those numbers is like going to the oscars of of venture investors right? I mean it’s like the who is who so I mean being a company out of Indonesia you know and being able to raise money from the likes of tiger you know, excel cleaner I mean it is unbelievable. So. So how did you manage to do that. How do you guys manage to do that and then also why was that process or that journey from going from None financing cycle to the next and.
Moses Lo: Yeah, lucky for us the growth speaks a little bit for itself. But I’ll set some context in 2015 when we started coming out of y sea I remember that we were talking to investors we were trying to explain where Indonesia was and someone asked me is Indonesia and Bali um, and. Bali is a state of Indonesia so it’s quite the opposite. But I said sure if that will get me the meeting then I’ll sit down and so there was just in 2 and 15 just misunderstanding or or little context about Southeast Asia or that’s changed now with enough unicorns and 3 public companies from the region. But in 2015 that wasn’t the case. And so we’re the first indonesian company into I see none investment for excel andliner for the us funds outside ah into southeast Asia um, and then for these other investors. Some of the biggest checks into the region. So we’re we’re breaking a lot of bamboo ceilings maybe in the in the Valley. So. How do we do it I think we had some good mentors and why he has a great kind of method for fundraising but in the early days I’d say for the seed round is a pretty interesting set of stories. The the idea here that investors at the time invested mainly out of fermo and so we kind of. Broke our investors apart we came in and we said hey we’re raising a small amount of money we’ve already got angels willing to play with us. Um, we just need kind of None more investor and we went round and we went to 3 or 4 and we said we really like you because of x y z reasons and then we left. And then two days later. This is the advice we were given two days later we called and said we need an answer from you within 48 hours if you’re not interested. That’s totally cool, but we’ll likely go with someone else and we kind of waited. This is the scariest moment because we’re just waiting but 24 hours later someone called and said screwing them in. And so we could go to the next set of investors and we could say hey we’re raising ah a larger amount of money. We’ve already got a whole bunch of great investors. We kind of need just one more at this size and we really like you because of x y z reasons um same playbook again. Waited 2 today is called and said hey really like you but ah. Need to make a decision pretty quickly tilly cool. You’re not interested but we’ll move on and I remember 1 of the investors at the time in that category sat me down for lunch and was like youre holding a gun to my head I was like I’m not holding a gun I just want to do what badly creating and actually run the business and he’s like all alright screw it I’m in and then I remember we called kind of. The excels the the kind of Sand Hill Road firms that we all know the names of and they said oh what about a meeting on Tuesday and my mentors like don’t book meetings Tuesday at the time part of meetings happened Monday morning. So I remember one Monday drove down to sanduel ralfs samuel road None None None Zero am M 10 am m had 4 meetings on Sand Hill Road
Moses Lo: Excel said hey we need you to make we’re in 12 minutes into the conversation we’re in we want to take the whole round. Um I didn’t agree to exactly on the spot. But we negotiated something within 30 minutes so that was the kind of seed journey for us.
Alejandro: Now I think that you are alluding to Tessa that you know the the growth obviously is peaks for itself. So in this case, you know like when when you have that level of traction I mean.
Tessa Wijaya: Um, over.
Alejandro: What is the best way to really package it and positioning it so that you really get that wealth factor from the investor and that you trigger you know they I want to I Want to be part of this thing. So.
Tessa Wijaya: Look I think um as moses brought up before our biggest challenge in the beginning was was not about the numbers. But it’s about the Region Southeast Asia ah, we are kind of the dark horse I think of of the investment world or the tech world because. Not a lot of people in the valley know about it. Indonesia is the none most populous country in the world. 50% of all of the world’s internet users coming from indo and yet a lot of people like Moses says are like hey is but ah Indonesia and Bali nobody knows about Indonesia so I think a lot of our pitch was about painting that picture about. Getting them to understand why are there pain points and payments. What’s the big deal because in America you can just pull out your credit card make a payment online or offline. No big deal. Um, so we have to make them understand this is what Indonesia is like this is a place where for example, connection from us to the partner. Bank partner still runs by a real cable so when that cable comes off. We actually have a photo that we shown investors where I think someone was doing roadworks and chopped off a cable and then we lost that connection to the bank and that that brought down our infrastructure. Ah we have to show those types of things to be able to get them to understand. Why what? we’re building is extremely extremely important for southeast asia so it’s not about the numbers. It’s about hey this is this is it this Indonesia this amazing place to be this is the place to go to now if you’re not here today you’re going to miss out especially in a macro environment like this where you have people saying. Oh I’m losing subscribers or where do I find the next engine of growth and we’ve got the 650000000 people sitting in Southeast Asia looking to buy goods and services. They want this rising middle income ah class we want to buy a product and services from around the world. But these companies refuse to provide local payment methods. And so I think the opportunity there’s this closing window of opportunity for folks to say okay, you look at the history of Silicon Valley or digital economies around the world. The companies that exist now and grow now in Southeast Asia will be the ones that are biggest over the next twenty thirty year period in the fastest growing economies in the world. So. Come now to the region while you can with your investor or company and someone like and it can help and so for us from investor point of view. You’ve got a market leader categorygate leader in an infrastructure business that is fundamental to the rise of the whole region. It’s an easy decision.
Alejandro: And and just quick question there. Ah just to expand to a mosis for the people that are listening to really get an understanding of the size and scope of send it to today I mean anything that you can share in terms of maybe like number of employees or anything else that would paint the picture. So.
Tessa Wijaya: Yeah, we’ve been growing about 10% every month since we started. We’re processing about $15,000,000,000 us Annually we’re doing about 200,000,000 transactions annually team size around 800 yeah
Alejandro: Amazing now you know one thing that is very interesting here. Is you know obviously moses you know is the one that leads raising the money and then Tessa is the one that leads spending the money. So when now you have like all these you know capital available I mean it’s.
Tessa Wijaya: Focus.
Alejandro: Like they say I believe that raising money is not a milestone is a steppingstone because then the expectations come to to execute so I get ah I guess as part of the operations and the execution when you have you know that capital and that roadmap how do you go About. You know, really making sure that that you’re going in the right way and the right path.
Tessa Wijaya: I think it’s about aiming for that one goal. What do you want to hit as a company for us. We have you know? ah 3 things that we really want to achieve with the latest fundraise one part is to really hit regionalization. But does that mean we’re now in Indonesia and Philippines actually through covid we expanded to the Philippines which is mind-blowing in itself and ah throughout that time we’ve become number one in the Philippines as well which is extremely exciting so regionalization is all about. We think we have the but best product in class. And we want to be will expand that out to other markets in Southeast Asia we think that we can bring that same world-class technology to other countries in the market. So that’s one part that we’re really going to focus on ah, the None thing is we really want to expand out of payments into other things that support merchants to be able to come online. So what we’ve done is we’re expanding on our lending product to be able to provide working capital for these merchants and these small big players. You know we’re there. We want to be able to provide the lending product for them and the reason for that is this again. Southeast Asia is with a unique place in a place like Indonesia getting a loan is extremely difficult. Me as a consumer for example for me to get a credit card I just got rejected from applying from a credit card. Um I think that was like half a year ago and if I kind of get a credit credit card imagine everybody else to be able to get a loan you have to you know? Ah oftentimes have collateral and that’s not possible for a lot of immersions. And and you know we see a lot of that information in our platform about merchants because we see the money passed through because we accept payments for them and but we disperse funds for them. So it’s a no-brainer. So that’s the next thing that we’re also going to focus on is the lending side and then the none thing is um, providing more products for small businesses for smme. Think we’re also extremely excited about that because there are a lot of mom and pop stores where you know selling through Instagram maybe selling through social media. We want them to be able to accept payments as seamlessly as are ah but the bigger enterprise players that we serve.
Alejandro: And as we’re talking about execution here and the and the path forward I’d like to hear your perspective you know from from the both of you and let’s start with Moses Imagine you go to sleep tonight and you wake up in a world. A beautiful world. A beautiful world where the vision of send. It is fully realized.
Moses Lo: Hold the object to be.
Alejandro: What does that world look like so
Moses Lo: We talk about the mission is building digital infrastructure for the region for Southeast Asia and what that means is we want the next generation of startups enterprises entrepreneurs to be able to launch their businesses without having to worry. But infrastructure. So I mean payments I mean logistics I mean lending I mean credit risk I mean data. We want people to be able to start and grow their businesses without having to worry about what’s underlying I’ll give an example we had a startup Yc company start with us. And within a weekend away but on board None merchants you just couldn’t do that without something like someone like us the same thing that Aws has done for compute. We’re doing for payments infrastructure and other infrastructure The other example is I remember I flew home to Jakarta got off the plane. And there’s a long highway between the airport and the city but there were None billboards and all None billboards were our customers. So really, this sense of how do we keep building infrastructure that the next generations of companies need to keep building our digital economies. Yeah I mean to me, it’s about you know. Everyone has this dream of of providing for hundreds of millions ah of people. Um I’d love for us to be the super app for for ah merchants for businesses so anything and everything that they need to be able to succeed to transact digitally first. Um, they can provide or we can provide for them. Everything from accepting payments to lending and everything else in between. We’re there for them. I mean what really hit home was you know I follow some brands on Instagram because you know I love you know I love dogs. There’s ah, a dogbed brand from Bali. Ah, one day they announced hey we can finally accept payments in Indonesia um, in the local local ways that payments are provided and they announced this on their stories and it was the zeed invoice that they saw that I saw on the mobile app or on Instagram so I mean. To see more of that to see everybody using zended all these merchants and to be empowering them to be able to just transact and and you know grow their business as well. I think that’ll be the dream.
Alejandro: So you guys have been at it for over seven years now you know obviously in in dark years as a lot of years you know building and scaling a startup right? and there’s a lot of lessons learned you know a lot of successes a lot of failures you know everything between so imagine I was able to.
Moses Lo: But yeah.
Alejandro: Give you the opportunity of put you into a time machine and bring you back in time to a time where moses is still working in Amazon to a time where Tessa is still working in private equity and to a moment where maybe you know each one of you is kind of like thinking. Well you know I’d like to maybe explore this. You know. This other you know this venture thing imagine if you were able to have a sit down with a younger self with that younger self and you were able to give that younger self one piece of advice before launching a company. What would that be and why given what you know now why don’t we start with moses.
Moses Lo: Given what I know now why see is this saying build what customers want and it took us a whileet to realize what that really meant so I tell my younger self the rules for citing a startup you have three months you have to launch. And start growing 30% month on month within that time which is about 7% week and week and before you do anything you have to talk to None customers so pretty set a simple rule in framework but took us a while to really realize what that meant and so if I had done that sooner I think we’ve pivoted faster and got into product market fit faster.
Alejandro: So now Tessa over to you. You have your younger self in front of you. What would you say.
Tessa Wijaya: yeah yeah yeah I think I would say don’t be afraid of failure because out of that success can also come again looking back at at you know our race moses and I obviously the product that I built the shopify light. Failed miserably failed miserably but out of that I learned a lot of things. Um I learned how to build an fvp quickly I learned about talking to customers I learned not only about talking and asking questions but about listening about what they want which is sometimes not what they say but the questions they ask or the questions they don’t ask. Um, had I learned that earlier I would have thought the shopify light would be would still be here today but you know I wasn’t extremely devastated because the next product that I built became you know the the biggest engine of growth for the next six months of Zendit. Ah, but again, don’t be afraid of failure as long as you learn from it. It’s okay, get back up and let’s do it again.
Alejandro: And I love what you’re saying there Tessa if I may follow up on that and in listening but listening for addressing the concerns that are in between you and getting things done and I think that that’s you know, very much applicable to the way that you. Engage with customers to the way that you engage with the employees and future employees as well as with investors. So how do you go about that and what what have you learned that maybe you know like you can you know, tell us from what you’ve learned you know from the employee and also the customer point of view and maybe moses can jump in. And share what he has learned more from the investor point of view. Thank you.
Tessa Wijaya: Look when I was um, doing this very None product. Um, what I realized was I wasn’t listening to my customer I would I would show them an Mvp a mock ah version of our product and I’d be like would you use this. And customers I think especially in southeast asia they’re really shy. We’re really scared of saying no so they’ll be like yeah maybe ah but then you know what we had at the moment at the time was a webpage where they could upload stuff and over and over again though these customers would go is this an app is this an app. And what I realized was ah what I should have done in order to make this product was to create an app rather than online platform. The customer was asking for that over and over again. They were a little bit confused like why are you making a web platform we’re used to having apps on our mobile phone and I just said oh that was an innocent question. Maybe that you just. Didn’t understand tech and we chose to build a web platform rather than app anyway, even after customers were asking that so that was one big learning for me when a customer keeps asking you something over and over again. Maybe that gives you a little bit of insight and we should also be listening and iterating from that lesson. And think that speaks to how we then since localize our product I there’s between us some global players who don’t succeed in the regions. We’re able to localize what we do and I think the way that plays out for investors is the world is a power distribution. Not a normal distribution in reality Peter Thiel talks about that. But when you are in the right end of howlor distribution investors recognize it fund it and enables you to get even further ahead faster and so the rate of acceleration a rate of growth grows even faster. So I think starting with the micro that Tessa mentioned leads to the macro which is power law.
Alejandro: Very powerful now for the people that are listening. What is the best way for them to reach out and say hello.
Moses Lo: Great ping me any time my emails moses at sender dot go for me. It’s http://tessaze.co or you can also find me on Linkedin.
Alejandro: Amazing, amazing! Well hey guys it’s been an absolute honor to have you both on the dealmakers in the dealmakers show. Thank you so much for being with us today.
Tessa Wijaya: Thanks so much for having us. Thank you.
* * *
If you like the show, make sure that you hit that subscribe button. If you can leave a review as well, that would be fantastic. And if you got any value either from this episode or from the show itself, share it with a friend. Perhaps they will also appreciate it. Also, remember, if you need any help, whether it is with your fundraising efforts or with selling your business, you can reach me at email@example.com