[THE INVESTOR] JAKARTA -- Indonesian startup Cashtree is out to make a mark in the country’s burgeoning advertisement market.
The three-year-old startup started out with its flagship Cashtree app on Android. The app hands rewards –- such as phone credit -- and other gifts when they install ads on the lock screen of their handsets.
And so far the going has been good. Cashtree boasts 12 million registered users since the app’s debut in 2015. The company also clinched US$4 million Series A funding from Korea Investment Partners and K Cube Ventures, now known as Kakao Ventures.
This year, Cashtree is looking to become a full-fledged digital marketing agency. It wants to help startups and firms promote themselves in the country’s nascent online advertising space.
“The demand for digital marketing will continue to grow, as both startups and companies are competing in Indonesia’s fast growing market,” Kim Jin-ho, cofounder and CEO of Cashtree told The Investor in a recent interview at its headquarters in Jakarta. “It’s a great opportunity and we want to seize it.”
As a part of such efforts, Cashtree has partnered with Korean advertisement agency Wisebirds to use its platform called Adwitt, which is optimized for Facebook and Instagram, to run campaigns in Indonesia. With Adwitt, Cashtree fine-tunes contents and design together with its Indonesian employees to cater to the local community.
“Localization is critical,” said Kim. “No matter how good the technologies are, understanding the language, culture and consumer pattern is crucial to read the trend and reach out to consumers. To do so, forming a partnership with local firms is an option in the future.”
Kim also wants to assist homegrown startups that want to make a footprint in the Indonesian market by utilizing its marketing platform.
“I have seen many Korean startups expressing great interest in the Indonesian market,” he said. “It’s a great market with high growth, increasing mobile penetration and young population. But it’s not an easy market, just like anywhere else in the world.”
He believes Koreans -- armed with great technology and expertise -- have to make all-out efforts and really dive into the market to survive and thrive. Networking with the right people, knowing the regulations and finding the right partner are all crucial.
Kim’s business know-how comes from his startup experience spanning two decades. The 42-year-old cofound Korean game company NeoPle in 2001 with his friends when he was still 24, and managed the firm until it was later sold to Nexen in 2008.
“This is my personal wish, but I would also like to publish games in Indonesia in the near future,” he said. “The gaming industry is picking up in Indonesia.”
By Park Ga-young and Ahn Sung-mi (email@example.com) (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This story was sponsored by the Samsung Press Foundation.