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5 Female-Led Technology Startups in Indonesia Breaking The Glass Ceiling

In this day and age, it is more common than ever to find a woman running a company. In fact, female leadership is considered an asset in a company because it is proven to boost employee retention and enhance financial condition.

In a report entitled “Women in the Workplace 2021”, management consulting firm McKinsey & Company stated that women leaders are more likely than men to support team members’ well-being. This gesture is significant to make the employees happier and less burn-out, which helps the corporation to maintain the retention rate.

Another report from management consulting company Boston Consulting Group (BCG) also supports the argument that an equal chance for women to be company leaders can bring better benefits. In the report entitled “How Diverse Leadership Teams Boost Innovation”, BCG explains that gender parity will help companies to be more innovative and agile, which eventually may lead to financial improvement. 

Female-led Startups in Indonesia

Indonesia is still progressing to provide an equal chance for women leadership. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF) report entitled “Global Gender Gap Report 2021”, Indonesia is in the lower position compared to some of the Southeast Asian countries in terms of gender parity. In the report, Indonesia ranks 85th of 153 countries, while several neighboring countries rank higher such as Thailand (75th), Singapore (54th), Laos (43rd), and the Philippines (16th).

Although it is still a work in progress, it can be seen that more women work as leaders or hold strategic positions in companies in Indonesia nowadays. The improvement happens across various industries, including technology companies. These five technology startups are the example of companies in Indonesia that are led and founded by women:

1. Rukita

female-led technology startup
Sarah Soewatdy and Sabrina Soewatdy, Co-Founders of Rukita

Rukita is founded and led by siblings Sabrina Soewatdy and Sarah Soewatdy. Sabrina leads the company as the Chief Executive Officer, while Sarah is the Chief Operating Officer. The sisters founded Rukita in April 2019 with an aim to improve the quality of life in urban areas.

Rukita is a property technology company providing property management service that covers core aspects of urban lifestyle through co-living space. Rukita focuses on building community, as well as providing convenience and a positive experience for all of the people who live in its co-living space. Customers can book a room for a minimum 1-month stay via their website and app.

Despite being a sibling who runs a property technology company, the Soewatdy sisters come from different backgrounds. 

Sabrina holds a Bachelor of Arts in Product Design from Parsons School of Design – The New School and Master of Architecture in Interior Architecture from the University of California, Los Angeles. Before building Rukita together with her sister, she worked as Director of Development of food and beverage company ASSA Boga. Currently, she is still working as a Vice President of real estate developer ASSA Development. 

In 2010, Sabrina also founded Berm Design and continues to work for the company until now. Berm Design is a multidisciplinary design firm that produces modern commercial and residential architecture and interior, as well as product and furniture design. The company runs the business globally as its offices are located in New York, Tokyo, and Jakarta.

Meanwhile, Sarah graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations Global Business from University of Southern California. Prior to founding Rukita, she worked as a Director of ASSA Boga. She managed and operated 2 brands of chain restaurants with more than 20 locations, 2 central kitchens, and more than 350 employees.

2. Binar Academy

Alamanda Shantika, founder of Binar Academy. Photo by IndonesiaTatler.com

Binar Academy was founded by Alamanda Shantika, who also acts as the President Director. It is an education startup that provides programming education. Alamanda founded the company in 2016, after previously working as a Vice President of People’s Journey at Gojek. She founded the company with an aim to add more capable digital talents to the country.

3. Xendit

Tessa Wijaya, co-founder of Xendit. Photo by BeritaSatu.com

Xendit is a payment gateway company founded by Moses Lo and Tessa Wijaya in 2016. It helps businesses across Indonesia and the Philippines to simplify their payment system. In September, the company announced that it has raised Series C funding of $150 million. The funding made the company reach a $1 billion valuation and became one of the unicorn startup companies in Indonesia.

Tessa Wijaya, who acts as the Chief Operating Officer, is named as the first woman to lead a unicorn company in Indonesia.

4. Lemonilo

Shinta Nurfauzia, co-founder of Lemonilo. Photo by BravaRadio.com

Lemonilo is a consumer startup founded by Shinta Nurfauzia, Ronald Wijaya, and Johannes Ardiant in 2016. It sells healthy and natural products with affordable prices online on ecommerce and its own marketplace, as well as offline on traditional minimarket and supermarket. Shinta Nurfauzia leads the company as the Co-CEO.

5. Geek Hunter

Ken Ratri Iswari and Yunita Anggraeni, co-founders of Geek Hunter. Photo by GeekHunter.co

Geek Hunter is a recruitment agency/headhunter founded by Ken Ratri Iswari and Yunita Anggraeni in 2013. The company is the first headhunter company in Indonesia that focuses to find best talents for IT (Information Technology) roles. Currently the company also expands its recruitment scope to non-IT roles. Ken Ratri Iswari leads the company as the CEO, while Yunita Anggraeni works as the COO.

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