Kyle Kling of MDI Ventures

MDI Mutualism – A technological symbiosis

By Bea Castaneda


         When we are presented with or hear words such as ‘business’, ‘investor’, and ‘venture capital’, it wouldn’t be too far off if people also think of profiteering. These words are commonly associated with the business of making money by the millions, especially if you want to start a successful business. But it isn’t as easy as that though, and I think so many aspiring entrepreneurs and those who have had the chance can say that with utmost conviction. In a business, when you want to earn money, you have to actually have money first. It’s called having a capital and it would be one of the first hurdles you have to overcome and an option to solve that are loans and other kinds of debt instrument but they are not always available for everyone.

          Now MDI Ventures is one of those solutions and what we would like to call a venture capital. It has partnered with Telkom Indonesia, the largest telecommunication operator, a big business that can offer big help to starting companies. So what is a venture capital? It is defined to be financing that investors provide to startup companies and small businesses that are believed to have long-termed potential, even if there is a substantial risk because it is typically a new business. Its beauty is that the high returns that attract them to a business in the first place don’t necessarily come in the form of cash but also skills and expertise. Your knowledge and experience can be the reason why you get funding in the first place.

MDI – The Stronghold

          From how venture capitals are defined above, you could say that it is like symbiosis found in an ecosystem, specifically mutualism. This is because the parties involved give the very best they have to each other that in turn reap such huge benefits. One cannot reach and go beyond the goal they have set without the support of the other.

          MDI Ventures, being the strategic arm of Telkom Indonesia, seeks to invest or form that symbiotic relationship with companies and businesses that are disruptive and innovative when it comes to media, mobile internet space, and anything online. It seeks to find passionate innovators and creators of product that has relation with what Telkom has been or wants to develop (such as Digital Ads, Payment solutions, Cloud computing, Big Data, Media Services, Digital Life, Mobile Apps, and E-Commerce).

          The focus of investment is to strengthen their vertical growth to ensure excellent service that will result in an extraordinary experience for the customer. They seek out suppliers who they can learn from, who can expand the knowledge that they need to create solutions that will satisfy both sides. They hope to partner with, be a customer of, or even be resellers of the companies they build a connection with so it isn’t just about using each other but actually helping one another. MDI is a whole different VC ballgame because they have such a huge business to back them up and they also combine the venture capital model with service in providing companies with access to operational help. They let the startups maximize MDI’s business units and the 160 million subscribers, and etc.

           They are the best kind of investors you can possibly imagine for their unwavering support in every detail of the business. Value is key to them, that is what they want to provide, and what that entails is helping build that capital runway startup businesses need that will see them off to growth and excellence. The ultimate goal is to just find products that prove their existing products and services and again, provide value to technology companies that they hope to partner with, to improve their services.

The Helping Hand – Kyle Kling

          As for the specific people behind MDI Ventures, one of them is Kyle Kling, the United States Investment Director. His role is to help them find and source out opportunities within the U.S. that would help fit their investment criteria.

          Born from Minnesota to parents who were programmers, despite his implication that Minnesota was a technological graveyard because of an almost non-existent tech community, and whose schooling was mainly focused on Finance and Managements Information Systems, I guess it wouldn’t be surprising to note that his career experience mainly touched technology and entrepreneurship. He was driven to try out the entire spectrum and he started off being an Internal IT which opened him to the experience of buying businesses and merging them with the company he was working on. This experience taught him how large corporations operate and how they are managed, what they care about, and what matters at the end of the day.

          It has also taught him how people expect to be treated because not all of those they deal with come from the same background and experience. This manifested in the first business he has put up where he and his partners would help small scale businesses manage their IT networks or build a website. Even in his next job in an MNA firm, it has taught him the value of a business making money. This is who Kyle is; every opportunity that comes after the other, he has alearned something that ultimately has value. He is the sum of a life that is continuing to experience and become better at what he is doing in his field.

          He is a representation of what MDI Ventures is all about. When asked about his favorite thing about the job, he answered the smart people, the passionate people he meets, the energy they give off and the products they present. They have reminded him to strive better; and in meeting the people who he would like to give assistance to, they have somehow helped him too. Like him, MDI Ventures seek companies that make them better, make them provide better.

The pioneers

          Kyle has mentioned that a big part of indentifying the selection of the start-ups largely depends on the people behind it, the founders.

          So to you, the pioneers of the innovation and the creative disruption that MDI might be looking for. There are helping hands out there that seek only what is best for you and to broaden the horizon for the company and the product you have worked hard for. The one side of your symbiotic business relationship is ready and it’s waiting for you.

“Focus on the existential threats, if you’re consistently focused on addressing the problems that are going to make or break your company, it helps you keep focused, it helps you keep your eyes on the problem, it keeps you moving forward.”

This was Kyle’s advice to the CEOs and the pioneers and although a bit far from poetic it has meaning, substance, and a lesson that will push you further than you ever thought possible. So it may seem hard now, but keep pushing forward and then maybe you’ll find yourself ready to take on the path with a helping hand such as MDI Ventures.