ArticlesSmart CityCould Bandung be the key to tech renaissance?

Ikin WirawanJune 24, 2015

Even when the general economy is slowing down, the startup ecosystem is still hot.

Have you heard some enthusiastic people saying, “there are so much investor money”, or “if you can’t get investment from this guy, that means something wrong with your project.”

Thus there are a lot more tech startups now compared to 5 years ago.
Everyone from telco executives to biology students become technopreneurs.

Money that flows into these startups trickle in good portion to programmers’ pockets.
In the past three years, the average salary of developers has at least doubled.
Programmers have a sizeable bargain power & a feeling of awesomeness…


So everyone is saying they don’t have enough talents. “I can hire 10 more programmers if there are any,” they say.
Unable to hire, they turn to headhunters. Headhunters focusing on programmers are flourishing.
But these headhunters too, need 2 months to recruit, and that is *if* they can recruit.
Out of 40 recruitment opportunities, a renowned tech headhunter says that they can only fill 5 per month.

Progressive investors would suggest the outsourcing route, as it is more financially prudent to not enlarge your fixed costs while a startup is still bleeding money. And besides, startups are morally responsible to the career of those programmers whom they pitched so convincingly to dump their old jobs just a year ago.

But most other investors do not agree, they want in-house development team because the big investors, potential acquirers from overseas, they value in-house a lot more.
So the startup will say, because the deadline is fast approaching, why don’t we outsource just some part of the app?
Once that part is done, or once we can hire, we terminate the vendor (bad relationship building btw).

Talking with a real-estate friend, his idea to solve the talent crunch and beyond, is an integrated property complex for tech startups in Bandung.
Not like the sleepy Bandung Techno Park.
Not decades away like Bandung Technopolis (sorry Mr. Mayor).
It’s like Trans Studio Mall, but it has office towers catering to tech industry.


  1. It will have an education company bridging the skills gap between universities and industries. Its relationship with universities are very strong.
  2. The education company may also choose to give programming workshop for free to disadvantaged kids who can’t continue college education (CSR).
  3. It will have a training company which provides customized training and recruitment services to those companies needing specific talent.
  4. Its facilities will dwarf any we’ve seen (it will be 100x bigger than the likes of BDV), thus making it too comfortable for talents to leave.
  5. The huge talent base is exported overseas (offshore, or even on-site) via its software houses.
  6. Knowledge transfer is facilitated, and diverse expertise is acquired, from Big Data to IoT.
  7. It will invite Silicon Valley startups to house their team here. The key here is not to invite the giants like Google or Facebook (again, sorry Mr. Mayor), but startups or ‘small’ companies with valuation of $1B or below.
  8. It will have companies servicing startups setting up the office, tax and legal manners.
  9. It will provide Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) development center: initially in an outsourcing manner, but after a certain period the team are employed by the client.

Feel the energy?
The Bandung property complex could be key to the renaissance of Indonesia’s tech industry.
Investors will be invited regularly, thus creating a string of high-value startups.

The seed of all these are already here in Bandung.
Let’s make it a reality!


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