Born and raised in Australia, Dino Setiawan, the CEO and Co-founder of AwanTunai, spent nearly 12 years in investment banking, with his last stint as a Vice President of Morgan Stanley Indonesia’s Investment Banking business. Throughout his entire career, Dino Setiawan was never too far away from entrepreneurship, though, helping out with his family business from time to time.
Dino’s father had a coal mining project deep in the jungles of South Sumatra. So, he went there to help out the family business, where he witnessed the aspirations of local people to lift themselves from hard manual labor to higher value-adding services. After meeting his objective of bringing foreign partners, Dino joined CLSA investment banking and then Morgan Stanley Investment Banking.
Then he attended the Stanford Sloan Program, which eventually triggered his entrepreneurial mindset. During that program, Dino was exposed to the powerful fundraising engine fuelling the tech startup space and the idea that a business can start with two guys in a garage.
Dino Setiawan and the other Co-founders of AwanTunai wanted to build real access to affordable financial solutions that would last and deliver real impact on a big scale from the very beginning. Being an ex-investment banker, Dino explained to others how the mindset of “fake it until you make it” works as far as fundraising off a fantastical “J-curve” growth in a bull market is concerned. Eventually, everyone felt that an unsustainable business model just for the sake of some fancy growth metrics was not aligned with their goal. So, the entire team started their journey to find a product that could fit the market perfectly. It took them 10 failed products and 2 years to find the predictive power of supply chain transaction data. Since early 2019, AwanTunai has achieved 21% MoM revenue growth over 3 years with a supply chain SaaS solution combined with embedded financing for merchants and suppliers to purchase inventory. Currently, the ecosystem solution covers processes like online ordering, customer management, payment acceptance, inventory management, and embedded financing.
As the CEO and Co-founder of the organization, Dino Setiawan feels the main difficulties and challenges lie in people management, aligning the organization on product development, and financial management.
He stays motivated, knowing that they are creating something truly cutting edge. The Co-founders have pulled every possible resource to build a 21st- century technology app utilizing cutting-edge technologies in image recognition and other biometric analysis.
Motivating the Team
In order to motivate his team, Dino Setiawan keeps reminding them how they have already achieved the ‘impossible.’ AwanTunai’s financing performance in the difficult to serve markets of SME is much superior to any traditional lending program in the country. Dino also highlights the world-class technology resources and investors they have attracted, making them better resourced to keep achieving the impossible. He says, “I get them to dream beyond the typical mindset – i.e., instead of king of FMCG supply chain in Indonesia, why not king of FMCG supply chain globally?”
The Market Landscape
Dino understands a lot of money is pouring into the supply chain and eCommerce tech space, which has resulted in a range of solutions in the market. While some have real potential, few others might not survive. The leadership team keeps an eye on the organization’s potential competitors, but with the noise out there, they tend to stay focused on delivering innovative solutions for their customers.
Suggestions for Budding Entrepreneurs
Dino says, “It’s a long hard high risk, high reward path – go into it with your eyes wide open, line up as many competitive advantages you can before / as you take the plunge – you’re competing to be the best in your market, region, world, so get ready for the fight of your life.” He also believes it’s very easy for entrepreneurs to believe in their own propaganda, and an external VC investment means that they have a competitive advantage against their competition. So, there’s a real value in early VC investments, as it works like a validation tool.