Moses Lo and Tessa Wijaya, co-founders of Xendit, recently added another $300M to their funding to help enable the next generation of successful SMEs and large enterprises.
On the Dealmakers Show, Moses and Tessa shared the steps to starting a successful business, and their insights on building a team, raising your seed round, and how they are providing the infrastructure for others to run their businesses.
The Ultimate Guide To Pitch Decks
Finding Your Cofounder
Moses Lo was born in Singapore and grew up throughout Southeast Asia. For university he went to Australia, before coming to the US to study at Berkeley.
Prior to launching his current startup Xendit, Lo spent time in consulting, and a short stint working at Amazon.
Consulting is always good practice for learning to put together slides and Powerpoint presentations, as well as breaking down big problems into little ones. Notwithstanding this, Moses said that he really wanted to get to executing on things.
He augmented his on the job training by working on some side hustles to teach himself to execute on specific things, including a high end, tailor made suit business which taught him how to sell and then an ecommerce business in ties to learn SEO and how to rank on Google.
However, it was speaking to one of his professors in Silicon Valley that really triggered him to launch a big startup. His professor told him not to bother him with any new business ideas unless it was worth at least a billion dollars.
While that first felt like a reprimand, he is now grateful that this professor was the one to believe that he could come up with a billion dollar idea.
Key to bringing it all together was meeting his cofounder Tessa Wijaya. They were introduced by a mutual friend and customer. They met at a coffee shop in Jakarta, and found that they had instant chemistry.
Tessa was born and grew up in a small town in West Java, in Indonesia. Later, she also moved to Australia and the US to continue her studies.
See How I Can Help You With Your Fundraising Efforts
See How I Can Help You With Your Fundraising Efforts
Still, she wanted to go back home to give something back. She landed in the first home grown private equity fund in Indonesia. She was inspired by all the entrepreneurs she met and wanted to experience that for herself.
From her experience funding other ventures, it was clear that having the right founders was instrumental in the success of those companies and investments.
So, Tessa and Moses joined forces, and started working on things together.
The Steps To Starting A Successful Business
Today, Xendit has a team of around 800, has raised over half a billion dollars in funding, and has expanded to become the leader in the Philippines as well.
They’ve continued to grow at about 10% every month since they started. They process about $15B of payments annually, across around 200M transactions.
Their mission is building digital infrastructure for the Southeast Asia region, enabling the next generation of startups and enterprises to be able to launch their businesses without having to worry about the underlying infrastructure, and getting paid. Something they seem to be doing pretty well at.
In addition to picking a strong cofounding team, Moses says the framework for a successful company means first, before anything else, you need to really focus on talking to your customers, and listening to them. You have about three months to get to launch, so grow 30% each month, which is around 7% each week. .
Tessa adds that listening to what customers want “is sometimes not what they say, but the questions they ask or the questions they don’t ask.” This can be especially true in cultures where people really don’t want to say anything negative about your idea, but then won’t end up buying.
You have to be able to build an MVP quickly, and the better you listen to customers, the faster you will find real product market fit.
Tessa says not to be afraid of failure, as long as you learn from it. Get back up again, and create success out of that.
They’ve certainly had to do that themselves. After winning a Berkeley versus Stanford hackathon, they got into Y Combinator. It was then that they realized that they just weren’t getting the traction they should have been with their initial idea.
They pivoted from Bitcoin remittance to a wallet and payment concept. Yet, they wanted to test their idea further. So, they decided to experiment and split-test two things. Tessa took on one idea, and Moses took on the other. Moses’ APIs for payments and payment infrastructure became the foundation of their very popular startup, Xendit.
Raising Your Seed Round
Despite how much they’ve raised now, and from the great investors they’ve brought on, they had to start somewhere.
Getting out of the gate with the Seed round wasn’t simple. It took a lot of educating and fundraising strategy.
For a start, they had to begin with teaching investors where Indonesia was, then explaining how this culture was one of the fastest growing markets, yet was stuck between consumers and businesses already transacting on social platforms, and banks relying on hard cable connections, which were at risk of being cut off by severed cables and construction at any time.
With the right pitch, they managed to create some “FOMO” and urgency among investors which lead to onboarding top tier investors such as Accel.
Storytelling is everything which is something that Moses Lo and Tessa Wijaya were able to master. Being able to capture the essence of what you are doing in 15 to 20 slides is the key. For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) where the most critical slides are highlighted.
Remember to unlock the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.
Listen in to the full podcast episode to find out more, including:
- Pitching and managing investors
- Southeast Asia
- Building your team
- Working with regulators
- Juggling the micro and macro factors in your business