Tessa Wijaya talks about becoming a technological woman and creating a unicorn

Read Time:4 Minute, 15 Second

Tessa Wijaya describes herself as “the unicorn among unicorns.”

As an Indonesian woman who runs a $1 billion fintech startup in Southeast Asia, she is a fairly rare breed.

Female leaders in technology are not common. This is especially true in the financial technology sector, where they occupy 7% of leadership positions. But Wijaya said she hopes to change this situation by showing more women and girls that they can take a path with fewer people.

“I really want to encourage more women to work in the technology industry,” the millennial entrepreneur told CNBC Make It.

A $1 billion female founder

Wijaya is the co-founder and chief operating officer of Xendit, an Indonesian fintech platform that processes digital payments for Southeast Asian companies such as Grab, Wise, and Traveloka.

Since its launch in 2015, Xendit has developed rapidly. Today, it processes more than 65 million transactions each year, valued at $6.5 billion. It reached a $1 billion “unicorn” status in September.

This is a huge challenge…how do I keep up with these people?

Tessa Vijaya |

Co-founder and COO of Xendit

However, for Wijaya, success still feels strange.

“The possibility of someone like me-a woman born and raised in a small town in Indonesia-becoming a co-founder of a technology company invested in billions of dollars did not let me escape,” she said. .

Find your feet in the financial sector

As a young girl who grew up in Indonesia, Wijaya said she was “strange” and preferred to play with GI Joe dolls instead of dolls.

But she is also very ambitious, inspired by the grandmother who raised her and her cousins, while running a small food business.

When she was in her early 20s, Wijaya interviewed for an analyst position in a new private equity fund in Jakarta. Although she has no traditional financial experience, her critical thinking and determination left a deep impression on the company, and she finally got the job. She studies the industry outside of working hours to accumulate knowledge.

As an Indonesian woman who leads a $1 billion fintech startup, Tessa Wijaya describes herself as “the unicorn among the unicorns.”


Nevertheless, the journey was not easy.

As one of the few women on the team, Wijaya is hard to hear. Like many of her colleagues, she does not have a degree from Harvard or MIT. She said that the general manager of one of the fund companies would simply ignore her when she spoke.

“For me, this is a huge challenge… How do I keep up with these people? I don’t have an Ivy League degree,” Vijaya said. “I also look young. When you look young and you are a woman, it’s really hard to be taken seriously.”

Identify rising trends

However, she was not deterred. Wijaya is eager to play a role in the evolving business environment in Southeast Asia.

She worked closely with emerging startups in the private equity field and witnessed the rapid rise of technology in the region in the early 2010s. But she also noticed a missing link.

“You have ride-hailing services, and you have e-commerce,” Wijaya said. “Without payment, they are nothing.”

I have been given a great opportunity to change the way of behavior in the workplace so that more women can be promoted.

Tessa Vijaya |

Co-founder and COO of Xendit

Fortunately, through the entrepreneurial accelerator Y Combinator, Wijaya met a group of students from the University of California, Berkeley, who are working on similar projects.

“It’s love at first sight at work,” Wijaya said.

The team immediately began to develop a new payment platform, which later became Xendit.

Encourage more women to participate in financial technology

Six years later, the founders and their 600-person team handle online payments, operate markets, and manage finances for businesses in Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and other regions.

According to Wijaya, approximately 40% of Xendit’s employees are women. She said she believes that helping women make progress in their careers is a personal responsibility.

She said: “I have had a great opportunity to change the way I behave in the workplace so that more women can be promoted and become the next generation of leaders.”

Xendit achieves this goal by launching a “women in technology” mentoring program for young women and girls, a return to work program for new mothers, and a meal delivery service for working parents during the pandemic.

Wijaya stated that she hopes that additional support can play a role in encouraging the next generation of female fintech professionals to believe that they can also become leaders.

“Sometimes I think, if my grandmother has a chance to give me, where will she be,” she said. “I think she will be here too. The chief operating officer and co-founder… the unicorn of the unicorns.”

do not miss it: The 36-year-old founder of a $1 billion start-up company shares his best advice for building a business

If you want to know more about business please go to https://updatednews24.com/category/business/

0 %
0 %
0 %
0 %
0 %
0 %
We use cookies to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. View more
Cookies settings
Privacy & Cookie policy
Privacy & Cookies policy
Cookie name Active

Who we are

Suggested text: Our website address is: https://updatednews24.com.


Suggested text: When visitors leave comments on the site we collect the data shown in the comments form, and also the visitor’s IP address and browser user agent string to help spam detection. An anonymized string created from your email address (also called a hash) may be provided to the Gravatar service to see if you are using it. The Gravatar service privacy policy is available here: https://automattic.com/privacy/. After approval of your comment, your profile picture is visible to the public in the context of your comment.


Suggested text: If you upload images to the website, you should avoid uploading images with embedded location data (EXIF GPS) included. Visitors to the website can download and extract any location data from images on the website.


Suggested text: If you leave a comment on our site you may opt-in to saving your name, email address and website in cookies. These are for your convenience so that you do not have to fill in your details again when you leave another comment. These cookies will last for one year. If you visit our login page, we will set a temporary cookie to determine if your browser accepts cookies. This cookie contains no personal data and is discarded when you close your browser. When you log in, we will also set up several cookies to save your login information and your screen display choices. Login cookies last for two days, and screen options cookies last for a year. If you select "Remember Me", your login will persist for two weeks. If you log out of your account, the login cookies will be removed. If you edit or publish an article, an additional cookie will be saved in your browser. This cookie includes no personal data and simply indicates the post ID of the article you just edited. It expires after 1 day.

Embedded content from other websites

Suggested text: Articles on this site may include embedded content (e.g. videos, images, articles, etc.). Embedded content from other websites behaves in the exact same way as if the visitor has visited the other website. These websites may collect data about you, use cookies, embed additional third-party tracking, and monitor your interaction with that embedded content, including tracking your interaction with the embedded content if you have an account and are logged in to that website.

Who we share your data with

Suggested text: If you request a password reset, your IP address will be included in the reset email.

How long we retain your data

Suggested text: If you leave a comment, the comment and its metadata are retained indefinitely. This is so we can recognize and approve any follow-up comments automatically instead of holding them in a moderation queue. For users that register on our website (if any), we also store the personal information they provide in their user profile. All users can see, edit, or delete their personal information at any time (except they cannot change their username). Website administrators can also see and edit that information.

What rights you have over your data

Suggested text: If you have an account on this site, or have left comments, you can request to receive an exported file of the personal data we hold about you, including any data you have provided to us. You can also request that we erase any personal data we hold about you. This does not include any data we are obliged to keep for administrative, legal, or security purposes.

Where we send your data

Suggested text: Visitor comments may be checked through an automated spam detection service.
Save settings
Cookies settings