Indonesia has one of the fastest growing internet economies in the world.
In 2018, Austrade’s Jakarta team helped local cyber security expert, Red Piranha, gain a partnering foothold in the market.
A year later, the company signed a $5 million deal during ceremonies to mark the inauguration of the new Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA- CEPA).
Red Piranha is a fast-growing Australian cyber security company. By bringing together multiple cyber activities into one platform – called Crystal Eye – Red Piranha has built a highly competitive technology suite that helps organisations protect themselves from cyber attack.
What makes Red Piranha stand out is its proprietary technology, which is wholly developed in Australia. Today, the company exports its integrated cyber defence platform to civil and defence clients around the world through a variety of partnering models.
Until 2018, Red Piranha had not looked closely at the Indonesian market. But demand for cyber security solutions in Indonesia is growing at break-neck speed.
According to Bloomberg, Indonesia’s internet economy is likely to be worth US$133 billion by 2025, making it by far the biggest contributor to growth in Southeast Asia’s internet economy over the next five years.
“Indonesia is traditionally a market for Australian agriculture and increasingly education, but it’s now also a prime market for Australia’s cyber security expertise,” says Tim Martin, Trade Commissioner, Jakarta. “We estimate that currently, around 60 per cent of IT in Indonesia is sourced from foreign companies.”
In October 2018, Perth-based Executive Director of Red Piranha, Richard Baker, was working closely with the company’s regional office in Singapore.
“I got an invitation from Austrade to attend a cyber security and IT governance conference in Jakarta,’ says Baker. “The event was co-hosted by AustCyber, Australia’s cyber security network. We were curious, but to expand in Indonesia we had to find the right local partner.”
Speed-dating in Jakarta
The objective of the cyber security event was to help Australian companies gain a better grasp of the cyber market in Indonesia, and to introduce them to reputable Indonesian IT partners.
“The Austrade team in Jakarta was very impressive,” says Baker. “The advisors understood where the Indonesian IT economy was at and the dramatic shift in cyber awareness that was taking place.”
Baker says that much of what he learned on the conference was a surprise. For example, he and his colleagues were impressed by the advanced state of Indonesia’s cyber security legislation. This made Indonesia a viable market for its Crystal Eye platform.
“Austrade in Indonesia was phenomenally helpful and the team was very proactive,” says Baker. “They arranged quality introductions to potential partners and did a fair amount of liaising. We attended a number of IT speed-dating events and the trade commissioner sent us pre-information about potential candidate partners.”
“The speed dating was highly effective at helping us find potential partners – the Austrade team went out of their way to ensure there were no cultural misunderstandings.”
Baker was inspired by the market and impressed by the players; and one company in particular caught his eye.
“Austrade introduced us to a mid-sized IT group called Professtama,” he says. “The company came with good credentials and Austrade had kept in touch with them for a number of years. Together we devised a partnering model to market Crystal Eye in Indonesia.”
In March 2019, Red Piranha signed a memorandum of understanding with Professtama worth A$5 million.
“This was a big moment for us,” says Baker. “The signing took place as part of the inauguration of the new Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IA-CEPA).”
Baker says IA-CEPA will be a huge help to companies like his that want to expand in Indonesia.
“This agreement alters the sense of how Australia is viewed in Indonesia,” says Baker. “In a country where credibility is so important, the agreement gives a boost to all Australian companies – whether or not their products are directly impacted.
“In terms of cyber capability Australia has a sort of geostrategic advantage,” he adds.
“Australia is viewed neutrally in Indonesia, since we are not one of the biggest global players. This helps us gain an impartial hearing for our technology.”
Credibility in a conservative market
On the ground, Austrade also helped Red Piranha to find new commercial clients. Baker says this has been useful because in Indonesia, overseas companies often need an introduction in order to begin meaningful commercial discussions.
“Working with Austrade gave us huge credibility,” says Baker. “Indonesia is a very conservative country and so partnering with Austrade is extremely helpful. The embassy played their part too: for example, the Australian Deputy Ambassador attended one of our events.”
Austrade has also helped Red Piranha to begin working with the defence sector in Indonesia. With numerous sensitivities to navigate, Austrade helped ensure that Red Piranha met the relevant Australian Defence Export Controls, and gained the support of all relevant stakeholders.
“I cannot speak too highly of the Austrade team in Jakarta,” says Baker. “The size of the domestic market in Indonesia is mind boggling. If it weren’t for Austrade I’m not sure we would have made it.”