Q&A with Aldi Adrian Hartanto, vice-president of investments, MDI Ventures
Kenneth Li, CEO and managing partner of MDI Singapore, said: “Despite his current age, Aldi is very much experienced in the Indonesian venture industry since the beginning of the wave.
“I met him when I first started MDI Ventures back in 2015 and at the time, he was with Fenox Venture Capital, after his tenure, he moves to another corporate venture capital (CVC) unit called MCI, Bank Mandiri’s corporate venturing arm, and there where he actually caught our eyes at MDI.
“His investment at MCI has been stellar, to say the least, he led the investment on companies such as Amartha, Moka (exited $100m-plus to Gojek) and Investree, which they made exceptional returns on their own. When he decided to join us, we were ecstatic and I think his experience at a Silicon Valley-based VC and also a CVC brings a heap of expertise and made his adaptation to MDI very swift.
“At MDI, he is tasked with leading and continuing the investment on Telkom Fund I which is a $100m fund. Over the years, it has performed very well and we have seen a total of seven exits with two initial public offerings (IPOs) and five mergers and acquisitions (M&A) transactions.
“At MDI, we always aim for greater heights, we always wanted to perform much better and Aldi has contributed ideas and execution to those new directions by extending our operation in Singapore and Silicon Valley offices along with the establishment of our external funds such as Telkomsel Mitra Inovasi (TMI) fund with $40m assets under management (AUM) and Centauri Fund with $150m-targeted AUM.
“MDI itself has been a success story within the Telkom group where we have assisted multiple Telkom’s group subsidiaries in exploring and adjusting to the digital world. Several of our portfolio companies have been deeply integrated within the Telkom’s group subsidiary and we believe that MDI is very unique in the CVC space where we are allowed to explore many different segments within the digital ecosystem.
“As part of the largest telecommunication company in Southeast Asia (SEA), we are opening new doors and opportunity for the group to access new market where we invested, over the years MDI has invested in more than 10 countries and growing. The success of our fund has opened new doors to our second and third fund which we have launched in the past two years.”
1. Any highlights from the past year?
2. What are the plans for the year ahead?
3. Could you mention some milestones achieved at your unit so far?
4. Please mention some pain points and opportunities you have encountered in corporate venturing.
5. What do you think all CVCs could do better to make it a stronger industry?
More CVCs have to act like independent VC by aligning the strategic agenda with the investment agenda (despite focusing on synergy, CVC still need to maintain objectivity on the investment opportunity, with the assumption that the company will still be doing well with or without collaboration with the parent)
Gradually less reliance to the parent company by shifting the CVC positioning that initially acts as a cost-centre unit, to be a revenue centre unit to maintain relevance within the group despite any significant changes in the parent’s management.
6. For colour, what did you do prior to CVC or in your spare time?
I was working as an investment analyst in a boutique investment firm and Kaizen Consultant at Toyota Indonesia prior to deciding to jump into the bandwagon of the VC world as the founding member of the first Silicon Valley-based VC firm that invests in SEA (Fenox VC; now Pegasus Tech Ventures).
Prior to falling in love with finance and venture investing, I was in an indie band as a guitarist that actively performed every weekend from one gig to another until realising that I sucked at it. I am still playing my guitar in my spare time but not as much as I spend with the founders.
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