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Modalku focuses on financing for smaller businesses, like Sri Cahyaningsih's pet food shop in Jakarta. She had struggled to secure loans until she found the startup online. (Photo by Dimas Ardian)
Startups in Asia

Indonesian P2P lender hatched at Harvard rises in booming market

Modalku and regulators learn from China as loans swell past $3bn

ERWIDA MAULIA, Nikkei staff writer | Indonesia

JAKARTA -- Harvard Business School students Reynold Wijaya and Kelvin Teo knew they wanted to start a company, they just did not know what kind. Five years later, they find themselves at the forefront of a Southeast Asian peer-to-peer lending market that has been something of a Wild West, but that looks to be entering a promising new phase.

"Kelvin and I ... were looking for ideas of businesses that had the potential to become very big and impactful enterprises," Wijaya told the Nikkei Asian Review recently, sitting cross-legged in a cozy lounge at the West Jakarta office of the company the duo founded, Modalku. "We saw the answer in fintech. Which segment of fintech though? We felt that lending is an interesting market."

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