Founder Series: Vikra Ijas of Kitabisa

Crowdfund Vibe is starting a new interview series with crowdfund platform founders around the Asia-Pacific region to get to know the platforms and the people behind them. To start, Crowdfund Vibe sat down with Vikra Ijas from Kitabisa, Indonesia’s leading crowdfunding platform. 

Crowdfund Vibe: What motivated you to start a crowdfunding platform?
Vikra Ijas: I always see the Internet as a super effective tools to amplify things. When I first discovered Kickstarter and Indiegogo, I know immediately that a developing country like Indonesia can benefit from such platform. So it made me curious why the crowdfunding wave haven’t been picked up yet (back in 2009 – 2012). When I met my partner Timmy who was looking for a partner to grow his newly built platform Kitabisa, I knew that was the answer to my curiosity.
Vikra Ijas

Vikra Ijas

CFV: How well known is crowdfunding in your country? What is the coverage on crowdfunding in the traditional media?

VI: The crowdfunding market is relatively new and just starting to get traction as we start to scale and garner nationwide media exposure. Donation based is still the most well known as the interaction is already common compared to rewards-based. P2P lending / crowdlending is also a more recently growing market with the rise of the fintech industry.
CFV: Do charities and/or social causes use crowdfunding in your country? What about startups? What different things do they want from crowdfunding platform?
VI: Kitabisa facilitates primarily social causes and charitable fundraising. Startups haven’t really find traction in crowdfunding (especially in Kitabisa) as the market is unfamiliar with the concept of backing a startup through donations, even if they provided a reward for it. On the other hand, equity crowdfunding is still prohibited with the current regulation hence we haven’t got any platform operating that model.
CFV: What is the government’s attitude to crowdfunding? Are they looking at regulating equity crowdfunding?

 

VI: Yes. Equity crowdfunding is currently regulated under the current capital market act.
CFV: Who are the main users of your service?
VI: Individuals, communities and NGOs with social initiatives/programs. Our most popular categories include: medical bills, education & scholarship, infrastructure building and religious causes.
CFV: What is the largest fundraise that has occurred through your platform?
VI: Building a mosque in Japan, about $200k
The Kitabisa Team

The Kitabisa Team

CFV: What is the most interesting project that your platform has funded?

VI: The Japan mosque project is interesting because it is initiated by the Indonesian community living there and out of nowhere becomes our most funded campaign.
CFV: What are the most innovative rewards that projects have offered through your platform?
VI: We have several celebrities who used our platform to fundraise for charities and in exchange for donation, they offer exclusive meet up with the donors.
 
CFV: Where do you see crowdfunding in 5 years time, both in your country & globally?
VI: It is only natural that offline interaction will shift to online as long as it makes the interaction more efficient. I believe donation-based crowdfunding like GoFundMe and Kitabisa will become the norm for social causes and charitable fundraising to complement offline fundraising effort – it’s a matter of time until the payment friction is solved in emerging markets. Reward-based crowdfunding will find it’s niche community and continue to grow like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Lending based crowdfunding will help increase inclusivity in financing especially in developing markets with a high number of SMEs. I have not done much research regarding equity crowdfunding so I am not at a position to make a forecast. Finally, I see that crowdfunding itself will start to branch out and find new forms such as micro-crowdfunding (Tilt) or specific usage like Experiment.

Starting Something Good Has Never Been Easier

Traditional funders, whether they be governmental or corporate, often look to proven models to solve continually changing problems. Innovative solutions that create social impact, therefore, cannot get the required funding to reach their potential. Innovation is stifled before it has begun. Starting something good proves more difficult than it should.

The funding gap for social impact projects, and recognition of how sites like Kickstarter revolutionised bringing creative projects to life, led Tom Dawkins to found StartSomeGood in 2011 with Alex Budak. Now it is a platform that has raised over $6 million and had over 550 projects in 35 different countries. Recently it also picked up the Innovation Award at Australian and New Zealand Internet awards. StartSomeGood has become the crowdfunding platform where innovative ideas can come to life to create social change. It allows more democratic solutions to social problems by involving the community in decision making. Crowdfundvibe sat down with CEO Tom Dawkins to talk about creating change, the developing world and what they’re excited about for 2016.

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