Most people have ambitions, but few follow them and shape their goals around them. Ario Tamat realized this when he spent six years working in Indonesia’s major music labels trying to make it as an indie musician. During those years, his salary as an office worker was his main source of income and his passion for indie music was not taking off.
“I have first-hand experience of how hard it is to make money as a content creator,” he said. CASIA In a recent interview. But building a platform can change that. If creators can connect directly with fans who pay for new content, perhaps that could make passion projects financially viable, he thought.
In the year In April 2019, Tamat discussed this idea with her friend Arya Rajasa, who regularly plays basketball. Rajasa said the platform should not only be for musicians but also for creators from other fields like Patreon. Tamat agreed.
In June 2019, Karakarsa’s bare bones went online. Tamath took on the mantle of CEO, while Rajasa became the company’s chief technical officer.
Gaining the trust of skeptical creators
Tamat admits that initially it was difficult to convince creators to join the platform. Before Karyakarsa, there were other platforms with similar goals, such as Naver’s Line Webtoon, Ciayo Comics, and Trakteer.id. However, not all of them were able to transfer enough income to their members, so the founders were skeptical about KaryaKarsa. They still mainly rely on commissions, sponsorships or monetized ads on YouTube to make money.
“It took time to convince this model [direct fan contribution] It’s sustainable and beneficial to creators,” he said.
The Karikarsa platform has basic features like a gallery where creators can upload text, images, audio clips, and videos similar to a blog or Instagram. It recently started publishing a weekly leaderboard featuring the ten most successful creators on the site, and the team offers coaching sessions to creators based on their performance in the community. Creators are approached after showcasing their work, which has mostly provided no content or received any fan contributions. Sometimes the team coaches creators who “still have room for improvement” in terms of fan engagement.
“We pay attention to their work, because the creative industry in Indonesia is still not as developed as South Korea, Japan or the United States, even in Southeast Asia,” said Tamat.
To prevent piracy, Karikarsa disables the copy function on paid content and limits the file size of downloadable items. This also prevents illegal content such as pirated movies from being sold through the platform.
Prices for unlocking content are set by individual creators. Fans can suggest creators they support without making a purchase.
A year after its launch, KaryaKarsa has provided more than $3 billion ($203,000) worth of fan support to creators. The company charges a 10% commission on each transaction. Tammat explains the easy rupiah payments as the key to this success.
“Most platforms facilitate payments by credit and debit card or PayPal, and usually in USD. Those methods are not popular in Indonesia, thus hindering the growth of the business. KaryaKarsa users can tip or shop using popular e-wallets such as GoPay and Ovo or pay from mini markets.
Expressing how well Karikarsa blends in with the spending habits of young Indonesians, the platform’s list of 100 creators quickly grew to a core count of 8,100. And the company recently launched a mobile app to keep fans up-to-date on the creators they follow.
Tapping into creative communities
The startup has joined Asia’s latest cohort of accelerators, and is raising new funds. “We will use the investment for growth, like recruiting more engineers,” Tamat said.
In addition, the company is working with art institutions to hire different artists. For now, most of the content contributions come from writers, cartoonists and wellness educators. Tamat wanted to venture into other arts as well – his first inspiration being music.
“Karyakarsa was born with the idea of helping musicians, but few have joined the platform,” he said.
This article is part of KrASIA’s “Startup Stories” series, where KrASIA writers talk to founders of tech companies in South and Southeast Asia.