Ryan Gondokusumo is the founder of Sribu and Sribulancer , the largest freelancing platform in Indonesia to help businesses find and hire the right skillful freelance workforce within minutes instead of months.
Before founding Sribu in 2011, Ryan worked for several multinational companies in the United States and Indonesia, focusing on business development and marketing. Ryan graduated cum laude from Purdue University in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering.
Ryan has been working as an online business consultant with many businesses that are looking to go online and startups with areas of expertise, including product development, customer development, growth, and conversion.
In an exclusive interview with AsiaTechDaily, Ryan says:
I would like to be remembered as an Indonesian entrepreneur that revolutionized the HR industry through a freelancing platform.
- Not everyone has to be an entrepreneur; being a professional allows you to grow as well. Be yourself, don’t be someone that you don’t intend to be.
- If you go the entrepreneur route, be persistent. Don’t give up after 6 months; give it longer. It’s an insanely tough route. Be prepared.
- Time is one of the things that you can’t buyback. Make sure you plan your future carefully. Ask around. Don’t make rushing decisions.
Read on to know more about Ryan Gondokusumo and his journey.
Ryan Gondokusumo: My name is Ryan Gondokusumo. I founded two startups, Sribu in 2012 and Sribulancer in 2014, one of Indonesia’s largest freelancing platforms to help businesses find and hire the right skillful freelance workforce within minutes instead of months. Before founding my startups, I worked for several multinational companies in the United States and Indonesia. I graduated from Purdue University in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering. Besides running my startups, I have been mentoring many startups focusing on product development, customer development, digital marketing, and growth.
The idea first started when I was still working at my previous company, a travel agency. We needed a poster designed for a campaign. I waited for 3 days and received 3 poster designs from our designer. Unsatisfied with our designer’s work, I posted a contest on one of Indonesians’ largest forum sites, Kaskus. We received more than 300 poster designs in 2 days! I was fascinated by the number and quality of designs that we got. This led me to start Sribu. Sribu’s concept was a contest platform; along the way, we built Sribulancer, a freelancing platform focusing on the Indonesian market.
Ryan Gondokusumo: Our current main product is Sribulancer. We provide businesses with the ability to find the help they need from a variety of talented Freelancers. You can find services that range from programming, web design, graphic design, voice-over, video making, article writing, email writing, and more. Our Sribulancer system leverages performance data to make the freelancer selection process easy and reliable – every time. Once connected, Clients can work together with freelancers via our workspace tool. Sribulancer has helped more than 12.000+ B2B clients and a community of 23.000 curated freelancers.
We pivoted from Sribu to Sribulancer in 2014. Although Sribu is still up and running, our team focuses mostly on Sribulancer’s growth. One of the reasons for the pivot was due to the smaller market size for Sribu’s business. Sribu only caters to design services. Take, for example, a logo design. A company will only change its logo once every 10 years. It was difficult to produce the recurring revenue needed to accelerate the company’s growth.
In 2021, we are planning to merge Sribu and Sribulancer under the domain and brand Sribu.com.
Ryan Gondokusumo: We have raised 3 rounds of investments. The latest one was in Jan 2018 from Crowdworks Japan. Unfortunately, we will not be able to disclose the number of investments.
Ryan Gondokusumo: We created a 5 years projection plan, and through the plan, we can know when we need to raise. As we started executing the plan, we started to compare our plan to our actual data and adjust accordingly. We keep close monitoring of our cash flow as well. From our projection, we need funds by December, and we usually start looking for investors 10 – 12 months before.
Dealing with investors is never easy. We had a situation in which we negotiated for almost 9 months, signed term sheets, and the investor pulled out at the very last minute. Thus I have always given an additional duration buffer when doing fundraising.
Previously I had met with 100+ investors before during the past 9 years. I tend to look for investors that are entrepreneurs as they understand what it’s like running a business.
Ryan Gondokusumo: Time is extremely precious. I will focus more on growing the business and making sure that I have solid numbers before raising funds. If your company is doing super well, every investor will look for you and want to invest. Thus we do not waste time looking for investors. Secondly, the bookkeeping has to be neat and tidy, from day 1. It will help to fasten the fundraising process.
Ryan Gondokusumo: Our next milestone is to acquire 100,000 B2B clients in Indonesia and grow to be the largest freelancing platform in Indonesia for Sribu.com.We believe that the future of working is not limited to space and time. Thus freelancing is the way to go, and we want to be part of the entity to revolutionize the way people work in Indonesia.
Unbounce To help us create landing pages fast. This allows us to test something out faster without the involvement of the tech team. It can be used for faster trials in collaboration, new features, new campaigns, and many more.
Ryan Gondokusumo: They do not track the marketing data. Without data then we can not make decisions accurately. Before we start any marketing initiatives, we have to make sure to implement the tracking.
Ryan Gondokusumo: Currently, we are still focusing on the Indonesian market as there is still a huge untapped market. We are planning to expand to English-speaking countries first, such as Singapore, Malaysia, and Hongkong first in the future, one country at a time.
Ryan Gondokusumo: Expanding to too many regions at the same time. This creates potential new problems. Each region or country has a different characteristic of the market. We have to hire different people to head each country (this increases overhead expenses) and test each country’s market. The best is to expand one country at a time.
Ryan Gondokusumo: When covid happened in March 2020, we immediately held an emergency town hall meeting. There were a few points that we shared with the team:
We are still currently working from home, and it’s working really well for us—more productivities (less traveling), healthy and better performance. We are currently devising a plan to work from home for the next 5 years.
Ryan Gondokusumo: Not everyone has to be an entrepreneur; being a professional allows you to grow as well. Be yourself, don’t be someone that you don’t intend to be.
If you go the entrepreneur route, be persistent. Please don’t give up after 6 months. Give it longer. It’s an insanely tough route. Be prepared.
All these resources share the recipe of success: Hard-work, smartness, persistence, and timing.
Ryan Gondokusumo: I like to learn new things and absorb as much knowledge as possible. I listen to the podcast Master of Scale by Reid Hoffman: https://open.spotify.com/show/1bJRgaFZHuzifad4IAApFR a lot about startups and digital marketing through http://scalable.co/ by Ryan Deiss and https://cxl.com/blog/ for technicalities by Peep Laja.
Ryan Gondokusumo: I would like to be remembered as an Indonesian entrepreneur that revolutionized the HR industry through a freelancing platform.
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