The workforce is changing. As hybrid work arrangement becomes the new norm, learning and upskilling become even more critical for one’s career. As such, it is important to always up-skill regardless of the roles that you are in.
In this month’s startup conversation, we have caught up with the Co-Founders of MyRobin.ID, Siddharth Kumar, and Ardy Satria Hasanuddin. MyRobin.ID is a portal that not only helps blue-collar workers gain employment but also provides them with courses to help prepare and upgrade themselves for the future. Read on to find out how the founders grew the community of workers to more than 2.8 million today.
Starting with your background, what was the driving factor that made both of you start MyRobin.ID? Due to the different factors (i.e stability etc) involved in starting a startup, was it a tough decision for you back then to leave your corporate role of 6 years to start MyRobin.ID?
Siddharth: Ardy and I grew up in different countries and in very different families. But, we have a few things in common – we both grew up in fairly humble families, both of us got some good professional breaks, and both of us realised that sometimes it is one stepping stone that one needs to break the cycle of poverty.
MyRobin is the platform that is helping millions in Indonesia to get fair access to opportunities, uplift their skills so that they can earn more, and help our community reduce their cost of living.
I worked in a start-up part-time from 2007 to 2010, while holding a full-time job. That experience convinced me that I want to build a startup – and I went to INSEAD to find my co-founder, which I did. But, we could not raise money as the model was not scalable. Hence, I went back to the Corporate world fully aware that once I have an idea, and I can validate it, I will go all-in again. So, it was not a difficult decision.
Why is Indonesia the market that you have chosen to enter? How different is the on-demand hiring landscape in Singapore and Indonesia?
Siddharth: In Indonesia, blue-collar workers like couriers, warehouse workers, cleaners, and daily laborers fill essential roles, but are highly marginalized because they have informal positions, short-term contracts, incomplete work profiles and records, irregular salary payments, and no opportunities to move up and upskill.
These workers typically lack access to laptops and CVs, barriers that make it challenging for companies to screen them for required job skills. Moreover, workers in this market do not use online employment platforms in their job searches, creating obstacles for companies that rely on Human Resources staff to source workers.
So, the problem exists for both demand and supply.
As per the Indonesia Bureau of Statistics, there are over 74 million blue-collar workers (excluding farmers, fishermen, etc.)
Apart from the scale, the key difference between the two markets is that in Indonesia most blue-collar workers are locals, who can easily jump between employers, take up GIGs, etc. Whilst in Singapore, most blue-collar workers are foreigners, who come to the country with the Work Permit issued to work for one employer in one role – so there is lack of liquidity for them.
Ardy (L) & Siddharth (R), Co-Founders Of MyRobin.ID
Having managed different teams of engineers before, how have the experiences influenced your current management style? Has it changed over the years?
Ardy: Engineers are introverted (generally), they prefer to let their work talk (vs. them talking about it).
I have always preferred to give my team responsibility and let them know that they can come to me when they need help.
With around 2,000,000 workers in the MyRobin community, how do you constantly engage these workers and grow the community? Subsequently, how do you find and match suitable talents with the right company?
Siddharth & Ardy: The number has now grown to more than 2.8 million!
We stay very close to our community and we keep them very close to us. This is to make sure that we understand what matters to them. I would divide the engagement of the community into 4 categories:
- We run surveys with our community to understand their needs and our platform consists of groups – by role & location – where users can learn from each other, share jobs with their friends, and also ask for feedback on companies
- We run social monthly gatherings to build deeper relationships with the users. Food is something that definitely in Indonesia, brings people together (Singapore is no different!)
- We recognise & reward the best performers. Blue-collar workers typically do not get the recognition that they deserve, delivering 120 parcels in a day, in the heat of Jakarta is a very difficult job. And when someone does that consistently, we believe that effort has to be applauded.
- We give access to workers to advance payment of salaries at one-quarter of the cost compared to the other alternative.
- Workers live hand-to-mouth and their needs are very basic. We have built a pool of affiliate partnerships to give the community privileges like discounts on daily necessities, engine oil, repairing their motorbike (the means of their livelihood).
MyRobin.ID pitched at Angelcentral earlier this year. How was the experience of pitching and raising funds through AngelCentral?
Siddharth: The AngelCentral community is a bunch of experienced and knowledgeable investors. The process went very smoothly, which is not a surprise, after having known Der Shing & Shao-Ning for a couple of years now.
With regards to your vision for MyRobin.ID, where do the both of you see the company in the next 2 to 3 years?
Siddharth & Ardy: We understand that uplifting the lives of blue-collar workers starts with helping them secure their livelihood, so we intervene at the start of this process – the job search. Blue-collar workers find roles via informal means like social media and referrals.
Given this, we focused on:
- building a strong community where workers can support each other and refer jobs,
- partnering with enterprises and sharing available roles, and
- creating a seamless and fully digital application process.
We don’t just stop here. After landing a role, workers can track their pay, request for advances, access other benefits, such as motorbike leases, build a digital profile (our version of LinkedIn, which is useful for future applications), and participate in training and upskilling programs. Each of these features adds tremendous value to the life of workers, in both the present and the future.
We believe that it is through this holistic approach that we will be able to truly impact the lives of millions of workers and their families.
We are very strong in Logistics, e-Commerce, Warehousing verticals, with marquee clients. We are growing in F&B now, over the next few years we will expand to other adjacent verticals, grow in Tier 2 & Tier 3 cities, and further strengthen our product both for the Enterprises and the users.
A final question before we end, if you are given a choice of choosing another job as a career instead of being an entrepreneur, what will it be? Why?
Ardy: Chef, Musician, Painter… I like to create things.
Siddharth: Cricketer. I like that fact that on a sports field, my destiny is mostly in my hands.
AngelCentral is the most active and fastest-growing community of angel investors in Southeast Asia. We organize regular pitch sessions, angel education workshops, and provide syndication services. Since Inception, AngelCentral has trained >300 angels and our members have invested >S$18m into the startups.
If you are a startup and would like to raise funds from our members, send in your application here!
If you are an investor and would like to find out more about Angel Investing and what AngelCentral does, we have a coffee session hosted by the AngelCentral team. These informal chat sessions are held twice monthly where we will share about what we do, our membership offers, and/or what Angel Investing is all about. Secure your slots here.
MyRobin is an Indonesian digital platform that provides businesses with pre-screened, on-demand blue-collar workers on a long and short-term basis. The contracts are signed on the MyRobin platform, daily attendance & performance are tracked on the platform and even the payments are processed via the MyRobin platform.
Apart from providing blue-collar workers with access to fair employment opportunities, MyRobin also provides workers access to training and embedded financial services, to boost retention and productivity.