Podcast: Hard Truths by Vertex | Episode 5 - Truths about Lighting Up One’s Own Path and That of 60M Workers in Indonesia, with Nelly Nurmalasari and Jessica Koh

Elise TAN | 08 Mar 2023

In conjunction with International Women’s Day, we bring you Episode 5 of our Hard Truths by Vertex Podcast.

Nelly Nurmalasari may have grown up in a small town but has always had huge ambitions. Her first exposure to female empowerment came in the form of guidance from her mother, encouraging her to dream big, and teaching her how to always ask the right questions. This put Nelly on a path to careers at BCG and Traveloka, and an MBA at Wharton. Now she inspires and empowers so many others. What was her journey to joining a team that unlocks opportunities for millions of mass workers? How did she become CEO of Pintarnya? And what are the Hard Truths about turning a shared vision into a reality?

At Vertex Ventures SEA&I, as you know, we stand for gender neutrality and strongly believe in partnering with impressive talents to cocreate champions, regardless of gender. We are proud to share that in our Fund 4, 40% has been invested into female-led companies. And in the region, we invested into the most number of female leaders of any early stage fund.

Our Guests

Nelly Nurmalasari is the Co-Founder and CEO of Pintarnya, a technology startup based in Indonesia with a mission to unlock employment and financial opportunities for millions of mass workers in Indonesia.

She began her career at BCG, spending over 10 years as a project leader and was chosen to receive a full scholarship towards an MBA at The Wharton School. During her studies, she developed a strong interest in technology and eventually joined Traveloka, where she rose to the position of SVP, leading a business unit with over 600 employees. She also ran a salon on the side, the pain points of which led to the idea that birthed Pintarnya.

Jessica Koh has been with Vertex Ventures SEA and India for close to five years. She is currently an Investment Director, and led the investment in Pintarnya. Prior to Vertex, Jessica was at 500 Startups, involved in Investments & Fundraising. She graduated from NUS placing on the Dean’s List, and spent a year in Sillicon Valley as part of the NUS Overseas Colleges programme.

In This Episode

(02:24) First impressions of Vertex and Pintarnya

(05:46) How Pintarnya was conceived based on personal experience

(07:26) Being picked to be CEO by her accomplished co-founders

(10:30) Vertex’ investment thesis for Pintarnya

(12:44) The hard truth about translating vision into reality

(17:00) One key difference between male and female founders

(20:02) A magic moment in the journey

(22:30) A big vision

(25:52) Co-founders and spirit animals

(28:57) Nelly’s thoughts on female empowerment

(33:28) How her mother shaped her ambitions

Vertex Ventures SEA&I is proud to be associated with over 20 female-founded startups across Southeast Asia and India and this episode is part of our special series for International Women’s Day 2023. Throughout March we will feature four accomplished female business leaders, along with their Vertex investors - so do subscribe to our show and discover what it takes for women leaders to succeed male-dominated spaces.


Notes and Full Transcript for Episode 5 here.

**Listen on **Apple, Spotify and Google.

Or watch our other episodes here on YouTube.

If you like what you hear please follow or subscribe to the show so you don’t miss out on any of our upcoming discussions.

Your Host

Elise Tan is the Director of Communications and Community at Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia and India. Prior to joining Vertex, she has had extensive experience in investor relations and partnership at global venture funds and accelerators with more than $100m in AUM. Elise also currently runs a Southeast Asia-based startup community of nearly 800 entrepreneurs called the Asia Startup network and actively supports their startup journey through panels, meet-ups, and mentoring programs.

Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia & India is a pioneer in investing in tech start-ups in this region and has helped to build a number of unicorns. In this podcast, we seek to share and uncover the Hard Truth - raw, unfiltered insights and venture capital knowledge from across Southeast Asia and India. Tune in to learn from leading founders, innovators, venture capitalists, and industry experts in the region and to gain industry insights from those in the know.

If you like what you hear, please click follow or subscribe and share it with entrepreneurs or investors in your circle so we can all grow, succeed and build the future of SEA and India together.

This podcast is powered by CrazyTok: They help experts become influencers.

Find them on their Website, LinkedIn or Instagram

Find and follow us for new Podcast episodes on the other platforms:

Follow us to get notified whenever new episodes are shared.

For the latest news on Vertex Ventures SE Asia and India and our portfolio companies, follow us on Linkedin or subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia and India is part of the global Vertex Ventures network of funds.

In addition to Southeast Asia and India, the Vertex Global Network is comprised of affiliates in Silicon Valley, China and Israel. This provides a unique platform for our portfolio companies to realize their full potential by leveraging the combined experience and resources of our extensive network of global partners.

250 North Bridge Road, #09-01

Raffles City Tower,

Singapore 179101

+65 6828 8088

© 2022 by Vertex. All rights reserved. Legal