Tessa Wijaya on being a lady in tech, development a unicorn

Tessa Wijaya describes herself as “a unicorn amongst unicorns amongst unicorns.”

As an Indonesian girl operating a $1 billion monetary era start-up in Southeast Asia, she is a quite uncommon breed.

Ladies leaders in tech are unusual. That is very true in fintech, the place they grasp 7% of leadership positions. However Wijaya stated she is hoping that may trade via appearing extra girls and women they are able to observe the trail much less traveled.

“I in reality do wish to inspire extra ladies to be in tech,” the millennial entrepreneur advised CNBC Make It.

A $1 billion feminine founder

Wijaya is the co-founder and leader operations officer of Xendit, an Indonesian fintech platform that processes virtual bills for companies in Southeast Asia, like Seize, Smart and Traveloka.

Since launching in 2015, Xendit has grown swiftly. Lately, it processes greater than 65 million transactions price $6.5 billion every year. It reached the $1 billion “unicorn” status in September.

It was once a large problem… how do I stay alongside of those other people?

Tessa Wijaya

co-founder and COO, Xendit

To Wijaya, alternatively, luck nonetheless feels international.

“The unlikelihood of somebody like me — a lady born and raised in a small the town in Indonesia — changing into a co-founder in a tech corporate invested in via billion buck finances, does now not get away me,” she stated.

Discovering her ft in finance

As a tender lady rising up in Indonesia, Wijaya stated she was once “extraordinary,” who prefer to play with G.I. Joe motion figures quite than dolls.

However she was once formidable too, impressed via the grandmother who raised her and her cousins, whilst operating a small meals trade.

In her early 20s, Wijaya interviewed for an analyst process at a brand new non-public fairness fund in Jakarta. Despite the fact that she had no conventional finance enjoy, her important considering and backbone inspired the corporate, and she or he secured the process. She studied the trade out of doors of labor hours to construct her wisdom.

As an Indonesian girl main a $1 billion monetary era start-up, Tessa Wijaya describes herself as a “unicorn amongst unicorns amongst unicorns.”


Nonetheless, the adventure wasn’t simple.

As one in all only some ladies at the crew, Wijaya struggled to be heard. She did not have a point from Harvard or MIT, like lots of her colleagues. The overall supervisor of one of the most fund’s firms would merely forget about her when she spoke, she stated.

“For me, it was once a large problem… how do I stay alongside of those other people? I had no Ivy League level,” stated Wijaya. “I seemed in reality younger, too. To be taken significantly whilst you glance younger and you are a ladies is in reality exhausting.”

Figuring out a emerging pattern

But, she was once undeterred. Wijaya was once desperate to play a job in Southeast Asia’s evolving trade scene.

Operating intently with rising start-ups within the non-public fairness house, she noticed the area’s fast upward push of era within the early 2010s. However she additionally spotted a lacking hyperlink.

“You may have trip hailing, you could have e-commerce,” stated Wijaya. “They are not anything with out the bills.”

I have been given the good alternative to switch how the administrative center behaves, so extra ladies can transfer up.

Tessa Wijaya

co-founder and COO, Xendit

In a stroke of success, Wijaya was once presented to a gaggle of scholars from the College of California, Berkeley who have been running on a equivalent undertaking via start-up accelerator Y Combinator.

“It was once paintings love in the beginning sight,” stated Wijaya.

The crew straight away started running on a brand new bills platform, that may later turn out to be Xendit.

Encouraging extra ladies in fintech

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