The Rise and Battle of Virtual Private Assistant in Indonesia

Ever since Magic launched, and raised funding with $40m valuation. There has been a race to replicate the success in Asia, with BeMalas from Malaysia raised $500k, YesBoss from Indonesia raised from 3 prominent VCs, and also Nihao Concierge from Singapore. But I’m going to focus on the battle of HaloDiana and YesBoss in Indonesia.

HaloDiana, which was born inside SribuLancer backed by East Ventures and Infoteria is poised to battle YesBoss for Indonesia huge market. I believe that the timing and also the culture of Indonesian people are fitting of Magic style concierge service. The reason is that people here loves to be served, if you see in almost every place that involves paying or buying, we’d rather choose to be served than using a self-service machine. Example would be when I visited Blitzmegaplex on most malls, there are long lines of people queuing and few people on the self-service machine. Another reason, a lot of executives actually are served by personal assistant, hence, having virtual personal assistant like Diana or YesBoss, sort of boosted our “ego” and at the same time, super helpful since most of us are quite lazy to do simple things like “ordering your Gojek”

With all that mentioned though, I would highlight several key things that can make or break the Magic clones:

  • Scaling: As the services get popular and get used by more and more people, it will be a lot tougher to serve 10,000 people compared to say, few thousands people. YesBoss’ plan to create a Natural Language Processor are one way to do it. Otherwise, scaling the customer service team is needed. One of the advantages being based in Indonesia is that human resources are still relatively affordable compared to our neighboring countries. Other solution is to create a freemium model where paying members can be prioritized and served faster. If used frequently, I think people won’t mind paying $3-$5 per month.
  • Overreliant on on-demand services: As both players are built on top of the on-demand services such as Go-Jek, this creates a problem where if one of the deliveries are late for example, the one that is getting the blame is the services not the on-demand players. I saw my friend ranted against one of the two, but when I investigated, apparently it’s because of the courier. Another problem is the business model part, since so far both players are relying on making money from its partners/merchants, it puts the leverage on the partners, the revenue won’t be that big. Not to mention, there’s always a possibility of one of the on-demand services creating their own concierge service.
  • Low barrier of entry: Let’s say Magic expanded to Indonesia with millions of dollars in funding. I think that the model is actually have a low barrier of entry, proven with how fast HaloDiana is catching up with YesBoss (yes, I did consider that SribuLancer has bigger funding and well-positioned). Someone with huge capital can enter the market and erude the market share quite easily at this point.
  • Vertical private virtual assistant: in the Valley, there has been multiple Magic clones focusing on verticals instead of processing all requests. Such as Native for traveling, Vida for diet consulting, and more. As Nir Eyal discussed in his blog, Assistant as an App might be the next big thing and both YesBoss and HaloDiana might have bigger problem when the vertical players are coming in. For one, Travelio has developed its own travel concierge service, although focusing on its own inventory.

Despite all of the worries, the market is huge, and it’s ready for this kind of services. I’m definitely excited to see who will win and how they will try to beat each other on this rise of private virtual assistant.

Disclosure: Talenta is funded by East Ventures, also an investor in SribuLancer which creates HaloDiana.

Living in Jakarta

Posting this after 12 hours (SFO-ICN), 6 hours (ICN-SIN), 4 hours transit at Changi, and another one and a half hour flight to Jakarta. Despite all the glamour and what I posted here about living in the Valley. Plus an awesome public transportation and people in general. We should be thankful that we are living in Jakarta:

  • Most of the things are cheap. We can literally eat for as little as $1 and drink coffee for $3. Decent food in the Valley cost you at least $4-5, so does a cup of coffee.
  • Despite lack of public transportation – gas and parking are still generally cheap and definitely far cheaper than the US.
  • Human resources are also much cheaper, we can compare the minimum wage. Thus, allowing us to hire maids, drivers, baby-sitters, and so on.
  • THANK GOD FOR BIDET ON MOST PUBLIC TOILET IN JAKARTA!
  • There are so many problems to solve, so many opportunities.

I believe there are more things to be thankful of, but I’m definitely out of energy and need some sleep. Thank you for reading!

 

 

Living in Silicon Valley

This is not an article about a tips or an experience of living in Silicon Valley, but more of an observation from what I get by being here for around a week now. It is definitely an “American Dream” or to me, “Indonesian dream” to work and live at the States but let me just give you a picture of what it’s like:

With a few years experience (not totally green or fresh graduate), after tax, you’re going to have around $70-$75k per year which is around $6k per month. And the cost of living here are:

  • Let’s say you live in the South Bay (San Jose or Santa Clara), a rent for one bedroom apartment is around $2,5k to $3k.
  • If you own a car, that’s another $500
  • Eating out for lunch and dinner might cost you around $25 and with daily coffee it’s a total of $35 (assumption) per day which adds up to $1050 per month
  • Minus insurance, weekends entertainment, and so on.

You practically just getting by with almost no ability to save. Well, at least this is from what I observe. But despite all that, I do think that it is really an awesome city/place to live. Every little thing is here, transportations are awesome, I love the weather so much that I’d kill to have the same weather in Jakarta.

Considering the picture, I sometimes consider our life in Jakarta is really good. Minus the traffic, you can literally eat out and still have cheap foods. Coffee are (still) cheap. You can still save and invest for your future plus I think there are much more opportunity to build your own business in Indonesia compared to the US considering all the problems that we still have in Jakarta. Plus, the labor are still cheap that you can have drivers and maids. (I know I’m totally not an independent guy)

So, building a business vs working for a tech company in the Valley. Which one is better?