How Indonesian giant BNPL leverages data science to drive innovation

Data science and machine learning are among the most complex and important business concepts today. And many businesses, regardless of their niche, rely on them to provide a better user experience for their customers.

But what role do data science and machine learning play in the development of innovative financial systems, especially in countries like Indonesia?

The lack of credit history data combined with the high usage of mobile phones in Indonesia represents an ideal place for fintech companies to provide advanced and user-friendly financial solutions to consumers.

In this episode of Data Point of View, Laurie Hood, Chief Marketing Officer at Mobilewalla, spoke with Joel Samuel, VP, Machine Learning Engineer, at FinAccel, the parent company of Indonesian platform Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) Kredivo.

They discussed the importance of machine learning and data science to achieve business goals and deliver a better user experience, the challenges of finding data science specialists, the development of fintech and of e-commerce in Southeast Asia, and the essence of starting small.

Mobilewalla Podcast

Key Podcast Information

There are two main reasons for providing better solutions in Indonesia

Joel and FinAccel aim to provide better fintech solutions to the Indonesian market for two reasons.

“The first is the low penetration of credit cards in Indonesia. There are only 17 million credit cards compared to our population, which is about 250 million today. Thus, there are only 0.07 credit cards per capita. It’s really low. The second is the high penetration of mobile phones.

Currently, Indonesia has more than 119 million mobile phones. That’s almost 0.8 mobile phones per capita. So it’s a great place. You have a cell phone, but you don’t have a credit card.

We believe in “fail fast and learn fast”.

Joël and his team firmly believe that projects should be done little by little. This way, even if you fail, you’ll have the opportunity to quickly learn from your mistake.

“We can spot if there is something wrong with the model we put into production. We also truly believe in “fail fast and learn fast”.

We always push the production little by little to see the effect and the impact of the model. So we start with the simple things and the little things.

According to Joel,

“E-commerce is booming in Indonesia, and there are three or four ‘unicorns’ in the country that started on the basis of e-commerce. One of the challenges of e-commerce, not only in Indonesia, but all over the world , is cart abandonment.

And this issue is more about payment options or payment channels. Most people abandon the cart because they have problems with the checkout – this is FinAccel’s sweet spot. »

Regarding the data science perspective from senior management, Joel shared that “from the beginning we’ve had buy-in from the highest level, thinking that if we’re going to disrupt the best player in the market , like the bank or the multi-finance company that is already there, the only thing we can do is to introduce data science methodology.

He explained that they are solving the problem in a better way because the senior management of the company is convinced that data science is a great opportunity.

“But even if we have already defined our objective or the initiative that comes from the direction, we must prove that we can deliver this initiative or the adhesion to the very first unit.

A challenge for data science teams is establishing organizational trust. At FinAccel, the team had regular meetings with the COO and CEO during the first two years the team was in place to present their results.

They also have a good workflow and monitoring framework so they can quickly spot if there is something wrong with a model that has been pushed into production.

Joel and his team built trust by starting with a small problem, moving quickly to production, and then quickly seeing results.

This way, management can immediately see the impact of their approach to data science.

Watch Mobilewalla’s Data Point of View podcast with Laurie Hood and Joel Samuel here.


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