Tessa Wijaya on being a woman in tech, building a unicorn

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

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

Ladies leaders in tech are unusual. That is very true in fintech, the place they maintain 7% of leadership positions. However Wijaya mentioned she is hoping that can change by exhibiting extra girls and women they’ll comply with the trail much less traveled.

“I actually do wish to encourage extra girls to be in tech,” the millennial entrepreneur advised CNBC Make It.

A $1 billion feminine founder

Wijaya is the co-founder and chief operations officer of Xendit, an Indonesian fintech platform that processes digital funds for companies in Southeast Asia, like Seize, Sensible and Traveloka.

Since launching in 2015, Xendit has grown quickly. Right now, it processes greater than 65 million transactions value $6.5 billion yearly. It reached the $1 billion “unicorn” status in September.

It was an enormous problem… how do I sustain with these folks?

Tessa Wijaya

co-founder and COO, Xendit

To Wijaya, nevertheless, success nonetheless feels overseas.

“The unlikelihood of somebody like me — a lady born and raised in a small city in Indonesia — turning into a co-founder in a tech firm invested in by billion greenback funds, doesn’t escape me,” she mentioned.

Discovering her toes in finance

As a younger woman rising up in Indonesia, Wijaya mentioned she was “unusual,” preferring to play with G.I. Joe motion figures fairly than dolls.

However she was formidable too, impressed by the grandmother who raised her and her cousins, whereas operating a small meals enterprise.

In her early 20s, Wijaya interviewed for an analyst job at a brand new personal fairness fund in Jakarta. Although she had no conventional finance expertise, her important considering and dedication impressed the corporate, and he or she secured the job. She studied the trade outdoors of labor hours to construct her data.

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


Nonetheless, the journey wasn’t simple.

As one in all only some girls on the group, Wijaya struggled to be heard. She did not have a level from Harvard or MIT, like lots of her colleagues. The overall supervisor of one of many fund’s corporations would merely ignore her when she spoke, she mentioned.

“For me, it was an enormous problem… how do I sustain with these folks? I had no Ivy League diploma,” mentioned Wijaya. “I seemed actually younger, too. To be taken critically if you look younger and you are a girls is actually onerous.”

Figuring out a rising development

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

Working carefully with rising start-ups within the personal fairness house, she noticed the area’s fast rise of expertise within the early 2010s. However she additionally seen a lacking hyperlink.

“You’ve got trip hailing, you’ve gotten e-commerce,” mentioned Wijaya. “They’re nothing with out the funds.”

I have been given the good alternative to vary how the office behaves, so extra girls can transfer up.

Tessa Wijaya

co-founder and COO, Xendit

In a stroke of luck, Wijaya was launched to a gaggle of scholars from the College of California, Berkeley who had been engaged on an analogous mission by start-up accelerator Y Combinator.

“It was work love at first sight,” mentioned Wijaya.

The group instantly started engaged on a brand new funds platform, that may later turn out to be Xendit.

Encouraging extra girls in fintech

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/10/12/xendit-tessa-wijaya-on-being-a-woman-in-tech-building-a-unicorn.html | Tessa Wijaya on being a lady in tech, constructing a unicorn


PaulLeBlanc is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. PaulLeBlanc joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: paulleblanc@interreviewed.com.

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