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Indonesia’s IDEAL takes the pain out of applying for mortgages

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Applying for mortgages is often a time-consuming and disorganized process, with reams of manual paperwork required. Based in Jakarta, IDEAL simplifies the process with a platform that lets users compare mortgage products and apply for them from multiple banks at the same time. The startup announced today it has raised $3.8 million in pre-seed funding led by AC Venture and Alpha JWC, with participation from Living Lab Ventures and Ciputra Group.

The funding will be used of product development, hiring and expanding its products. IDEAL eventually plans to add other major lending products and expand into more Southeast Asian countries.

Started last year, IDEAL’s founding team includes Albert Surjaudaja, Ian Daniel Santoso and Indira Nur Shadrina, with Jeganathan Sethu joining this year. Before launching IDEAL, Surjaudaja was former head of operations strategy at digital payment service OVO.

IDEAL founders Albert Surjaudaja, Indira Nur Shadrina and Ian Daniel Santoso

IDEAL founders Albert Surjaudaja, Indira Nur Shadrina and Ian Daniel Santoso

Surjaudaja told TechCrunch that IDEAL was started “with the thinking that consumer lending in Indonesia is broken.”

“Used responsibly, credit is a vital part in fueling the growth of economies. It acts as a multiplier effect in generating value,” he added. “With that in mind, Indonesia has one of the lowest credit to GDP ratios in the region, signifying that there is a lot of economic value potential that can be unlocked. There are a number of reasons for this, but one key reason is the absence of good, accessible options when it comes to lending products.”

Surjaudaja said that traditional retail banks offer a relatively poor digital experience for their consumer lending products, making them less accessible. On the other end, there are P2P lending and BNPL startups, but their products are centered on smaller, more consumptive loans.

“We feel like there is a clear gap in the market, namely conventional, productive and larger ticket size consumer lending products offered on a user-friendly digital platform,” he said.

Surjaudaja says IDEAL chose mortgages as its first consumer lending product because of its market potential, citing 2021 research from Bank Indonesia that says the country’s mortgage industry is valued at $39 billion, with a projected 17% CAGR over the next five years. Gen Z and Gen Y is set to become the primary audience in the home ownership sector.

Indonesia’s mortgage penetration rate is also just 3% of the local GDP, one of the lowest in Southeast Asia.

Surjaudaja added that the traditional mortgage process is very manual, highly fragmented and takes a lot of time and effort from customers.

For example, most people lack information about how the mortgage process works, making it confusing. The document submission process is also manual and unstandardized with multiple parties involved and documents with sensitive information handled without security. Surjaudaja said consumers suffer from lack of transparency in rates and availability of different options, and an opaque application process that means they need to contact their agent numerous times.

IDEAL’s digital platform seeks to solve these challenges. While mortgages are currently primarily suggested by property agents, IDEAL lets buyers select their own mortgage products. It also has a feature, called IDEAL Checking, that lets people check their credit instantly.

It helps users choose a mortgage by calculating costs and installments, and also includes a direct application system that enables users to apply to multiple banks with one set of data and a real-time tracking system. IDEAL says its digital system is secure, and minimizes human error and data leaks that often occur during paper-based or messaging-app-based mortgage processes.

Other features include detailed information about property units from IDEAL’s developer partners, different mortgage products from banks and IDEAL Compass, a short questionnaire that helps the platform understand what a customer needs and produces a simulation of monthly payments, tenor and other information about a mortgage.

The startup is currently focused on the primary housing marketing, but plans to expand to secondary housing and mortgage refinancing/takeover products. It will also launch a dashboard that will help users monitor and manage their mortgages. IDEAL also plans to expand to other major lending products, with a long-term vision of entering more Southeast Asian markets like Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Surjaudaja said 60% to 70% of Indonesia’s mortgage market falls below the secondary housing category. “Our market research signals a strong need and demand from Indonesian consumers for a way to easily takeover/refinance their current mortgage, since the gap between fixed and floating mortgage interest rates in Indonesia can be quite sizable,” with up to a 10% difference.

IDEAL monetizes through commissions from banks and property developers for every successful loan application through the platform. It is currently partnered with five banks, including CIMB Niaga, OCBC NISP and Maybank, and several of Indonesia’s largest property developers, like Sinar Mas Land, Ciputra Group and Agung Sedayu Group. Its platform connects with banks through APIs to make the data-gathering process simple.

Some of IDEAL’s competitors include Pinhome, Cermati and Cekaja. Surjaudaja says Pinhome’s business model is more property-centric, providing an end-to-end solution related to property from home discovery to home financing. On the other hand, he describes IDEAL’s business model as “customer centric” and leaning more toward fintech instead of proptech. Cermati and Cekaja, meanwhile, are financial aggregators that allow users to browse mortgage products from multiple banks, but Surjaudaja said they are not fully digital, do no provide contextual data and still require an online-to-offline process, without a credit scoring pre-check and pre-filtering applicants to banks.

In a prepared statement, AC Ventures managing partner Adrian Li said, “Indonesia’s mortgage penetration is currently at 3% of the local GDP. That is low copared to Malaysia and Singapore, which are at 30% or higher. This presents a US$30 billion opportunity if Indonesia can double its mortgage penetration to 6% via improved financial access. IDEAL’s strong-suited team identified a bottleneck in the mortgage industry and brought domain expertise in fintech and real estate to build a one-stop shop for mortgages in Indonesia.”

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Uber to sunset free loyalty program in favor of subscription membership

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Ride-hailing giant Uber is shutting down its free loyalty program, Uber Rewards, so it can focus on its subscription-based Uber One membership.

Uber first launched the rewards program in 2018 as a sort of frequent flyer scheme that allowed riders to earn points for every dollar spent on rides or Uber Eats deliveries. Those points could then be used to get discounts on future rides or deliveries. In November 2021, Uber began introducing Uber One, which, for $9.99 per month or $99.99 annually, allows members perks like 5% off certain rides or delivery orders and unlimited $0 delivery fees on food orders of over $15 and grocery orders of over $30.

In an email sent to customers that was picked up by The Verge, Uber said users can still earn points via the legacy rewards program until the end of August, and that they can redeem those points until October 31. Uber Rewards will officially shut down on November 1, 2022, according to an update posted by the company.

The Uber Rewards program allowed users to earn 1x point for every Uber Pool dollar spent, 2x for every UberX dollar spent and 3x for every $1 spent on Premium. The number of points accumulated would put members into different castes of loyalty, from Blue to Gold to Platinum to Diamond, the latter of which comes with benefits like access to highly rated drivers, free delivery on three Uber Eats orders, access to better customer service and free upgrades.

While phone support will continue for Diamond users, now the only way to get additional perks with Uber will be to shell out for a subscription. Existing Rewards members will get a free one-month subscription to Uber One, but then will be charged for access. If you’re someone who orders Uber Eats more than twice a month, you can easily break even with the Uber One subscription, but plenty of users might not see the money saving benefits in the switch.

Uber did not respond immediately for clarity as to why it is shutting down the Rewards program in favor of the Uber One membership. Perhaps the company did not see the returns and user loyalty that it would have expected from the program and thinks a subscription offering will provide better returns.

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Twilio gets hacked, teens ditch Facebook, and SpaceX takes South Korea to the moon

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Hi again! Welcome back to Week in Review, the newsletter where we quickly recap the top stories from TechCrunch dot-com this week. Want it in your inbox every Saturday? Sign up here.

Is Facebook for old people? If you’ve got a teenager around the house, you’ve probably heard them say as much. The most read story this week is on a Pew study that suggests this generation of teens has largely abandoned the platform in favor of Instagram/YouTube/TikTok/etc.; whereas in 2014 around 71% of teens used Facebook, the study says in 2022 that number has dropped down to 32%.

other stuff

Mark Cuban sued over crypto platform promotion: “A group of Voyager Digital customers filed a class-action suit in Florida federal court against Cuban, as well as the basketball team he owns, the Dallas Mavericks,” writes Anita, “alleging their promotion of the crypto platform resulted in more than 3.5 million investors losing $5 billion collectively.”

A troubling layoff trend: While tech layoffs might, maybe, hopefully be showing signs of slowing, Natasha M points out a troubling trend: some companies are announcing layoffs only to announce another round of layoffs just weeks or months later.

SpaceX launches South Korea’s first moon mission: South Korea has launched its first-ever lunar mission — a lunar orbiter “launched atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket” ahead of plans to land on the surface some time in 2030.

Twilio gets hacked: While it’s unclear exactly what data was taken, Twilio says the data of at least 125 customers was accessed after some of its employees were tricked “into handing over their corporate login credentials” by an intense SMS phishing attack.

Amazon’s bizarre new show: Think “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” but made up of user-submitted footage from Ring security cameras. By now most people probably realize their every step is recorded on a security camera or three — but doesn’t embracing it as Entertainment™ like this feel kind of…icky?

Haus hits hard times: Haus, a company that ships specialized low-alcohol drinks direct to consumers, is looking for a buyer after a major investor backed out of its Series A. The challenge? Investor diligence for an alcohol company can take months, and Haus just doesn’t “have the cash to support continued operations at this time.”

woman pouring wine

Image Credits: Haus

audio stuff

How clean is the air you breathe every day? Aclima co-founder Davida Herzl wants everyone to be able to answer that question, and sat down with Jordan and Darrell on this week’s Found podcast to explain her mission. Meanwhile on Chain Reaction, Jacquelyn and Anita explain the U.S. gov’s crackdown of the cryptocurrency mixer Tornado Cash, and the Equity crew spent Wednesday’s show discussing whether the turbulent market conditions of late will mean we see fewer early-stage endeavors in the months ahead.

additional stuff

What lies behind the paywall? A lot of really good stuff! Here’s what TechCrunch+ subscribers were reading most this week…

Building an MVP when you can’t code: Got a great idea but can’t code? You can still get the ball rolling. Magnus Grimeland, founder of the early-stage VC firm Antler, lays out some of the key principles to keep in mind.

Are SaaS valuations staging a recovery?: “…the good news for software startup founders,” writes Alex, “is that the period when the deck was being increasingly stacked against them may now be behind us.”

VCs and AI-powered investment tools: Do VCs want AI-powered tools to help them figure out where to put their money? Kyle Wiggers takes a look at the concept, and why not all VCs are on board with it.

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After the FBI raid at Mar-a-Lago, online threats quickly turn into real-world violence

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Threats of violence reached a fever pitch — reminiscent of the days leading up to the Capitol attack — following the news that the FBI raided Trump’s Florida beach club to retrieve classified documents the former president may have unlawfully taken there.

After Trump himself confirmed Monday’s raid at Mar-a-Lago, pro-Trump pundits and politicians rallied around declarations of “war,” and Trump’s ever-fervent supporters called for everything from dismantling the federal law enforcement agency to committing acts of violence against its agents. The situation escalated from there in record time, with online rhetoric boiling over quickly into real-world violence.

By Thursday, an armed man identified as Ricky Shiffer attempted to force his way into an FBI office in Cincinnati, Ohio, brandishing a rifle before fleeing. Law enforcement pursued Shiffer and he was fatally shot during the ensuing standoff with police.

Analysts with the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), a nonprofit that researches extremism and disinformation, found evidence that Shiffer was driven to commit violence by “conspiratorial beliefs related to former President Trump and the 2020 election…interest in killing federal law enforcement, and the recent search warrant executed at Mar-a-Lago earlier this week.” He was also reportedly present at the January 6 attack — another echo between this week’s escalating online threats and the tensions that culminated in political violence at the Capitol that day.

Shiffer appears to have been active on both Twitter and Truth Social, the platform from Trump’s media company that hosts the former president and his supporters. As Thursday’s attack unfolded, Shiffer appeared to post to Truth Social about how his plan to infiltrate the FBI office by breaking through a ballistic glass barrier with a nail gun had gone awry. “Well, I thought I had a way through bullet proof glass, and I didn’t,” the account posted Thursday morning. “If you don’t hear from me, it is true I tried attacking the F.B.I., and it’ll mean either I was taken off the internet, the F.B.I. got me, or they sent the regular cops…”

In posts on Truth Social, the account implored others to “be ready to kill the enemy” and “kill the FBI on sight” in light of Monday’s raid at Mar-a-Lago. It also urged followers to heed a “call to arms” to arm themselves and prepare for combat. “If you know of any protests or attacks, please post here,” the account declared earlier this week.

By Friday, that account was removed from the platform and a search of Shiffer’s name mostly surfaced content denouncing his actions. “Why did you censor #rickyshiffer‘s profile? So much for #truth and #transparency,” one Truth Social user posted on Friday. Still, online conspiracies around the week’s events remain in wide circulation on Truth Social and elsewhere, blaming antifa for the attack on the Ohio FBI office, accusing the agency of planting documents at Mar-a-Lago and sowing unfounded fears that well-armed IRS agents will descend on Americans in light of Friday’s House passage of the Inflation Reduction Act.

“‘Violence against law enforcement is not the answer no matter what anybody is upset about or who they’re upset with,’ FBI director Christopher Wray said in light of emerging threats of violence this week. Trump appointed Wray to the role in 2017 after infamously ousting former FBI director James Comey.”

Friday is also the five-year anniversary of the Unite the Right rally, which saw white nationalists clad in Nazi imagery marching openly through the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia. The ensuing events left 32-year-old protester Heather Heyer dead and sent political shockwaves through a nation that had largely grown complacent about the simmering threat of white supremacist violence.

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