Indonesian conglomerate PT Astra International Tbk’s digital arm is looking to invest in new verticals such as media and entertainment, the company announced on Tuesday.
Paul Soegianto, Astra’s chief of group digital strategy, said media and entertainment are essential for the modern generation, and technology can help develop it. “Many use cases of media and entertainment that we are looking into include over-the-top (OTT), metaverse, and NFT in digital media and others that are related to a sustainable future,” he told reporters at an event on Thursday.
To find potential startups, Astra is holding a competition called Astranauts that will gather new ideas from students and startups. Media and entertainment is one of the verticals in the competition along with edutech, emerging tech, fintech, healthtech, mobility, agritech, and logistics.
Soegianto explained that the startups chosen from the competition could join Astra’s businesses or even create new verticals in its lines of business. Currently, Astra has seven lines of business, namely, automotive; financial services; heavy equipment; mining; construction and energy; agribusiness, infrastructure and logistics; information technology; and property.
Astra Digital Ventures, the group’s digital arm, was created in 2018 and has invested over $300 million in various startups, including Indonesian giant tech firm GoTo, agritech firm Sayurbox, telemedicine provider Halodoc, logistics startup Paxel, and fintech firm Mapan.
In July 2022, Astra also acquired a 49.56% stake in Indonesian lender Bank Jasa for $259 million. Astra will control Bank Jasa along with Hong Kong-based unicorn WeLab, which also owns a 49.56% stake in the lender. Bank Jasa is planning to turn into a digital bank this year.
DealStreetAsia reported earlier this week Astra could join Indonesian rural e-commerce company Dagangan’s new funding round. Dagangan is said to be in talks with investors to finalise a $25-30 million round. The talks are ongoing, and the final deal size and investors could change, the sources said, adding that Dagangan is also in talks with other potential investors.
Astra Digital also includes Astra Venture Building which aims to build new digital ventures for the group – from discovering new ideas to combining deep industry knowledge and business know-how with their technological and digital prowess. In this venture-building effort, Astra not only works closely with internal business units but also collaborates with various external partners.
Some digital products from Astra Venture Building are new car marketplace platform SEVA, used-car marketplace platform Mobbi, fintech platforms Moxa and maucash, digital payment platform Astrapay, rent car platform Movic, and parking platform CariParkir.