Informal work is a significant part of the Indonesian economy, accounting for at least 60 percent of the workforce. Because of the nature of their work, informal workers often face financial instability and limited access to financial services. Their lack of formal work history can limit their ability to advance professionally. And most find work mainly via word-of-mouth, which is inefficient and inconsistent for both employers and workers.
Enter MyRobin, a Jakarta-based startup supporting blue-collar workers in Indonesia. Launched in 2019, MyRobin matches informal or “gig” workers to employers seeking to hire them. The app formalizes and simplifies the hiring process, monitors attendance, and pays the workers in a timely fashion via mobile bank accounts.
“Our business model is very simple,” says Siddharth Kumar, co-founder and CEO of MyRobin. “We get the worker a job they can do. We do not charge them any money. We only charge the enterprise. The enterprise pays us a management fee, which is on top of the total labor cost.” The company also provides discounts that help reduce users’ day-to-day expenses and offers low-interest loans to workers who need them.
Siddharth and his co-founder and CTO, Ardy Satria Hasanuddin, are passionate about serving these workers. “I was, myself, a blue-collar worker,” says Ardy. “I spent maybe three years as a blue-collar worker in a small shop. So, I know how it feels. Nobody is trying to help them. I think this is my chance, with Siddharth, to help improve their lives.”
Along with their passion, they maintain an ambitious commitment to using technology to reach millions of informal workers across Indonesia. Siddharth says, “Technology is at the heart of what we do. The only way we can reach people is by mobile phone. We have offices in three cities, but our workers work in 130 cities. How? Tech.”
Accion Venture Lab has been excited about MyRobin’s potential since our investment in their pre-Series A round in 2022. Accion Venture Lab invests in and provides strategic guidance to innovative, scalable fintech startups that improve the reach, quality, and affordability of financial services for the underserved. MyRobin is a leader in the digital transformation of Indonesia’s workforce, using technology to address some of the biggest challenges in hiring and managing temporary workers.
Matching workers with job opportunities
Leonardo Adityo, a 24-year-old courier who finds work through MyRobin, recalls, “Before MyRobin, I used to have quite a hard time searching for a job. We had to meet face-to-face when applying for the job and wait for a callback. MyRobin makes job searching easier because we apply through an online application.”
MyRobin allows workers like Leonardo to apply for jobs through their app, then vets and matches them to work opportunities in hospitality, construction, sales, manufacturing, and other industries. Employers and employees can be sure of the other’s legitimacy, and an in-app CV records the workers’ job history. Leonardo is one of more than 500,000 ready-to-work MyRobin users who have been pre-screened by the app and can be connected to the businesses that need them.
Creating financial stability through digital payments
Unpredictable wages leave gig workers vulnerable to financial shocks, and with no record of their financial history, they struggle to qualify for financial services — like loans or credit — that could help them through a difficult time. MyRobin hopes to improve its users’ financial health alongside their employment status.
“By giving them stability and income, by giving them predictable dollars that they can earn every month, by giving them access to daily needs at a discount, by giving them access to money when they need it at a quarter of a price. That’s how we make people financially healthy,” says Siddharth.
As part of their package for employers, MyRobin manages attendance, payroll, and employee insurance for the workers hired through the app. They can more quickly and accurately track hours worked and provide on-time payments into digital accounts. Users can make discounted purchases through the app or elsewhere.
Upskilling workers through virtual trainings
Informal workers can also benefit from learning new skills that will command higher wages. MyRobin Academy provides accessible app-based trainings to users at no cost.
“Most of our partners are couriers and warehouse operators. We can help them upgrade their skills,” says Delisa Ayurani, Program Supervisor in the Community and Fulfillment Division in the Partner Engagement Department at MyRobin. “For example, if they want to be an administrator, but they’re weak in Excel or computers in general, we offer them a free skill upgrade program to prepare them for a better future.”
Upskilling workers allows them to earn more or pursue other employment opportunities. Hafich, a 22-year-old MyRobin user, began as working as a driver for a grocery delivery service. Completing MyRobin Academy trainings helped him secure a more senior role at the company.
“The job that I got from MyRobin is beyond my expectations,” he says. “We’re offered a career path. We’re given a space for self-development. For instance, if we were initially a driver, we were first trained in the basics, like how to drive on the street. But with time, we also learned how to manage products and how to manage our co-workers. We’re given trainings and provided with tools by MyRobin.” He still uses MyRobin to manage the drivers he now oversees.
Employment trends suggest that MyRobin will remain relevant in Indonesia, and their growth is a testament to the value they bring employers and employees alike. “In this economy, most companies do not want to hire staff full-time,” says Siddharth. “All of them are moving towards a pay-per-performance model. In this economy, we are super relevant in matching this demand of enterprises of on-demand workers with pay-per-performance staff.”
Watch how inclusive fintech creates financial stability and opportunity for low-income workers: