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Here’s what you should know today.

1. Indonesian state-owned bank BRI to acquires a venture capital firm

Indonesian state-owned Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI) is preparing $37 million (IDR 500 billion) of funding to acquire a venture capital, among the few, adding the business of venture capital and security among its subsidiaries.

The minimum funding required to set up a venture capital firm in Indonesia is $3.7 million (IDR 50 billion) for limited liability companies, and $1.8 million (IDR 25 billion) for cooperations or CV.

“We hope that the due diligence period may wrap up soon and the acquisition process can be finalised by this year,” expressed Suprajarto, BRI Managing Director.

The bank will be the latest Indonesian bank to owned a venture capital arm after Bank Mandiri (Mandiri Capital Indonesia) and BCA (Capital Central Ventura). BRI currently also operates five subsidiaries; BRI Syariah, BRI Agro, BRI Remittance, BRI Life, and BRI Finance.

Read the full story here.

2. CompareAsia Raises $50 million from investors including Alibaba, IFC, and Goldman Sachs 

CompareAsia Group has closed a $50 million Series B led by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) with participations from new and existing investors including Alibaba, SBI Group, H&Q Utrust, Nova Founders and Goldman Sachs Investment Partners.

The company runs online financial marketplaces in seven Asian countries, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines, under several different names and claimed to have more than 28 million people used its sites last year.

The new funding will be used to improve user experience across its sites, which uses machine learning and AI to match consumers with financial products based on their needs and risk profiles. The marketplace currently works with about 100 brands and financial institutions and makes money by sharing revenue with companies when customers sign up for their services through one of its sites.

Revenue-sharing incentivizes CompareAsia to remain neutral and provide accurate information in order to convince customers to continue using the site, which in turn convinces financial companies to stay on its marketplaces, said CEO Sam Allen

Read the full story here.

3. Amazon pours more money to its Indian business

Amazon reportedly has injected $260 million of new funding to its Indian business in the anticipation of the holiday shopping season, which centers around the Dussehra and Diwali festivals in the fall.

 

The company is looking more serious about its business in India. Amazon pumped $2 billion into its Indian marketplace in 2014 and Jeff Besoz has promised to invest $5 billion more in India during PM Narendra Modi’s visit to the US.

However, Amazon is still facing a fierce competition in the country, as main rival Flipkart also recently bagged a $1.5 billion from noteworthy investors including Microsoft, Tencent, and Amazon’s rival eBay.

Read the full story here.

BRI Launches Satellite

Source: Sindonews

Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI), the country’s second-largest lender by assets, launched BRISat — a commercial telecommunication satellite — to connect 10,650 BRI branches across the archipelago digitally over the next few years.

The bank plans to transform itself into the biggest digital banking network in Indonesia by 2019. BRISat is the first satellite owned and operated by a bank. Traditionally, banks all over the world rent satellite services from telco companies to support their operations.

“We will develop a number of financial applications and make the most out of our new satellite to make BRI more efficient,” said Asmawi Syam, the President/Director of BRI — which specializes in providing loans for small and medium enterprises.

The $250 million satellite was launched by the world’s leading satellite launch company Arianespace from the Guiana Space Center — Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. The satellite will be stationed at a geostationary orbit above Papua.

Connecting the economy across the islands

Asmawi said BRI is now more than ready to compete in digital banking against counterparts in the region, ahead of the semi-integrated financial market for ASEAN member countries — scheduled to be open by 2020.

Muliaman D. Hadad, Chairman of the Financial Services Authority, or OJK, said the satellite should benefit the whole of Indonesia’s banking sector.

BRI has around 50 million customers all over Indonesia and operates more than 9,800 conventional outlets, which include head offices, branch and sub-branch offices and SME loan outlets. It also offers more than 100,000 e-Channel outlets.

The scale of the lender’s operations means it needs network support from 23 satellite transponders. In the past, the bank’s satellite-based communication network has been relying on services from 9 satellite service providers in Indonesia.

BRI had been spending about Rp 500 billion per year to rent satellites. Buying the BRISat outright is equivalent to the cost of renting satellites for 7 years. The satellite maker promises BRI it can use BRISat for at least 17 years.

A version of this appeared in Jakarta Globe on June 20. Read the full article here.