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Economy

Indonesian bourse launches startup incubator

Stock exchange hopes to point young tech companies toward IPOs

A mentor gives a lecture to aspiring startups participating in the Indonesia Stock Exchange’s incubator program on Thursday (Photo by Wataru Suzuki)

JAKARTA -- The Indonesia Stock Exchange on Thursday launched a startup incubator that is already trying to point young companies toward initial public offerings.

To get the ball rolling, the incubator is giving 24 startups shared working space in Jakarta for the next six months. They will receive free mentoring as well as training sessions in accounting and corporate law.

Irmawati Amran, director of the incubator program, said the exchange will continue to support the startups even after the first six months by introducing them to potential investors.

"The road to an IPO is a long journey," she said. "We want to make sure the companies are well-funded and have stability."

The hope is that at least one company eventually IPOs.

Indonesia has a target to develop a digital economy worth $130 billion by 2020. The program, also backed by state-owned companies, is an offshoot of this.

Bank Mandiri is leasing the office space, and Telekomunikasi Indonesia, the state-owned telecommunications company, is providing internet infrastructure.

There are also hopes that the incubator can help the exchange out of its IPO slump. The IDX attracted only 14 IPOs in 2016, less than half the initial target.

Despite accounting for around 40% of Southeast Asia's economy, Indonesia's stock market capitalization lags behind Singapore's and Thailand's.

Still, the appetite for public listings remains uncertain; Indonesia's hottest startups have already raised large amounts of capital from overseas investors, allowing them to remain private. Go-Jek, which operates a popular ride-hailing app, took this route in August and raised $550 million, more than any company got last year by IPOing on the IDX.

The exchange aims to launch incubators in Medan, Surabaya and other major cities if the program is successful in Jakarta.

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