FinTech, People

Chat with Fintechs: Johnny Widodo from OVO Indonesia

August 11, 2017

Fintech in Indonesia

In a 2017 report by PWC, they found that Banks are reporting a loss of customers transactions going through the traditional bank branches and that their customers are moving towards mobile and internet channels. It is of no coincidence that a 2016 report on Fintech in Indonesia done by the Indonesian Fintech Association found that the number of fintech setups have risen sharply over the past few years. The Association estimated around 140 fintech setups in 2016, an increase of 78% from the year before!

We had the chance to speak to Mr Johnny Widodo, Director of OVO a leading Fintech based in Indonesia to better understand the developments in the world’s fourth most populous country.

Chat with OVO: Johnny Widodo, Sales and Marketing Director 


TFAGeeks: Hi Johnny, thank you for taking time off your busy schedule and granting us a short interview. As the Sales and Marketing Director at OVO, an Indonesian Fintech startup backed by the Lippo Group and with a focus on e-payments,  would you be able to share more about what OVO does?

Johnny: Thanks for speaking to us and allow me to speak more on our interesting company and OVO’s fascinating products. OVO is a smart application with three main features, namely; loyalty, payment, and financial services. 

  1. Loyalty: OVO’s cross-coalition loyalty program is unique because we are the first Fintech in Indonesia that allows and enables our users to spend and redeem points anywhere beyond a particular business group (aka the spend-here-burn-everywhere concept). OVO gives our users access across many industries including groceries, lifestyle, shopping, travel and dining. This is a first in the Indonesian market.
  2. Payment: OVO payment supports the vision in building a cashless society in Indonesia- where transactions are secure, fast, and flexible. OVO members can easily scan their OVO ID at the merchants to make payment without the hassle of traditional payment modes.
  3. Financial Services: OVO focuses on building financial management tools and other financial products for the Indonesian customers who are unable to access all the products through conventional banking/financial institutions. OVO enables our users with an easier access to financial solutions.

TFAGeeks: And how will OVO change and improve the lives of your users?

Johnny: Currently, OVO is the only application that integrates the key features of Loyalty, Payment and Financial Services in the Indonesian market. We strongly believe that OVO is helping to educate and elevate the quality of life for our users. Through OVO’s harnessing of the digitalisation technology, we bring our users to the next level where their daily chores and hassles are greatly eased. Our objective is to reach various layers of the society and by providing comprehensive financial solutions, we will draw in many first-time fin-tech users in Indonesia.

TFAGeeks: What will you say is the main differentiating factor between OVO’s offerings and your competitors? Why do you think your users will prefer OVO over them?

Johnny: There are three main differentiation between OVO’s products and our competitors’;

  1. Our vast partner portfolio consists of #1 groceries, #1 fashion retailers, #1 e-commerce, #1 private hospitals, #1 multimedia and technology, fastest growing F&B and entertainment chain, and many leading companies in the market.
  2. We are the only application in the market that integrates Payment, Points, and Financial Services altogether to serve our users as a form of digital concierge, helping the public to be closer to the adoption of fin-tech in most if not all aspects of their daily life.
  3. OVO collaborates with the largest mall operators in Indonesia, guaranteeing presence in 100 cities across the nation. Ultimately, we can reach a far wider scale of customers who otherwise have limited access to financial services and solutions.

We strongly believe our current value proposition will be very compelling to our customers.

TFAGeeks: Since you are in a Fintech company, in your opinion, are traditional businesses receptive towards Technology, whether in terms of partnering Fintech companies like yourself, or in terms of using Fintech solutions for their businesses?

Johnny:We believe that in the next 2-3 years, the 4th industrial revolution will take place in Indonesia where it will disrupt a lot of aspects within the traditional businesses. We are currently working closely with many traditional brick and mortar businesses, bringing them in as our loyalty and payment partners – areas where we are witnessing increasing demand. The appetite in anticipating changes and adoption to digitalization technology are also very high. Thus, we are building a strong reception towards technology.

TFAGeeks: Looking at the trend, especially the recent investment boom in Fintech companies, some analysts are pretty skeptical and some have warned that this might be another dot-com bubble in the making. What are your thoughts on that?

JohnnyIn essence, each industry will typically go through the S curve process. In my opinion, dot.com bubble is unlikely to happen in our fin-tech industry but some consolidation might happen in the future. The key success factors in any start-up are clear path to profitability, speed to the market, and strong and good execution. Thus, we will need to build strong business plan with clear profitability path before executing it strongly and fast!

We also understand that the Indonesian Government has established a clear stand in supporting and building a fin-tech ecosystem in the Republic with a noble aim to promote greater financial inclusion. We believe that as of now, the Fin-tech industry is still relatively young and the future will remain exciting.

about author

Seng Ti is currently heading a Treasury & Finance team in a MNC and is active in the Corporate Treasury scene. He enjoys reading and discussing about current affairs, politics, life, wine and lives a normal life with his wife and 2 young kids.