UTS graduate Francisco Widjojo is ‘transforming Indonesia’, one start-up at a time

UTS graduate Francisco Widjojo is ‘transforming Indonesia’, one start-up at a time

SYDNEY, Aug. 23, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — UTS graduate Francisco Widjojo wants to be part of Indonesia’s growth story. And, as one of the founding partners of investment firm Arkblu Capital, he’s doing exactly that. Hear more student and alumni successes at the UTS Virtual Open Week this 7-11 September.

Francisco Widjojo, UTS Alumni. At UTS in Sydney, Australia
Francisco Widjojo, UTS Alumni. At UTS in Sydney, Australia

“Our focus is on Indonesian start-ups,” he says.

“We make direct investments into early-stage technology companies, and we also invest into venture capital funds.”

A 2015 graduate of the UTS Bachelor of Laws, Bachelor of Business, Francisco landed a job with international law firm Baker McKenzie right out of university. He loved the company, loved the work, and, armed with his UTS degree, felt ready to take on the challenges of a career in corporate law.

But around the same time, interesting things started happening in Indonesia: tech companies like Gojek, Tokopedia and Traveloka were achieving ‘unicorn’ status with valuations of over $1 billion USD, marking Indonesia’s ascent onto the global tech stage.

Francisco, who spent significant time in Indonesia growing up whilst being educated in Australia, had always kept one eye firmly on his homeland – staying connected to Indonesia had always been part of his long-term career aspirations. Now, the lure was irresistible.

“I’m very proud to be Indonesian; I very much believe in the Indonesian people,” he says.

“I was trying to figure out, how can I be part of this growth story?”

The answer was Arkblu Capital, which he launched with another partner in 2019. Like Francisco, the firm operates at the intersection of two cultures: while most of the companies Arkblu supports are based in Indonesia, some have their headquarters here in Sydney.

As Managing Partner, Francisco calls frequently on the capabilities he gained during his time at UTS. His day-to-day work requires skills from both his business and law degrees, including analysis, strategy, negotiation and financial management, as well as fundamental legal knowledge. It also requires a particularly global mindset, one that Francisco says he developed through his participation in UTS’s wide range of international programs.

“Being able to not just be a monocultural person but actually understand and interact with people from all around the world is very valuable,” he says.

Currently, Arkblu has a portfolio of six companies, including Wahyoo, a digital solutions platform for warung makan, a type of traditional Indonesian eatery; and Hypefast, a direct-to-consumer house of brands group focused on Southeast Asia.

But that’s nothing compared to where Francisco and his team are headed: the goal is to contribute to making Indonesia one of the top 5 global economies by 2050. Getting there will require ongoing investment in the Indonesian people and ventures set on solving some of the country’s gnarliest problems.

“As a start-up investor, we like to say that if a country or market has a lot of problems, it’s a good thing, because it means there are lots of problems to solve and lots of businesses that can be created to do it,” he says.

“Most of Indonesia’s population is still very young and they’re very tech-savvy, and because a lot of the business processes in Indonesia are still very manual, there is huge potential for tech innovation.”

On 9 September, UTS will host a live virtual discussion “UTS Startups: the largest community of student-launched startups in Australia“. Discover how UTS is supporting students like Francisco to develop and launch the businesses of tomorrow. This event is part of UTS’s Virtual Open Week, 7 – 11 September. Discover more at uts.edu.au/virtual-open-week.

The University of Technology Sydney (UTS), located in central Sydney, is one of Australia’s leading universities of technology. It is known for fusing innovation, creativity and technology in its teaching and research and for being an industry-focused university. UTS has a total enrolment of more than 40,000 students and is rated No.1 ‘young’ university in Australia in the QS rankings. For more information go to uts.edu.au.