Putting Priority Back in Life, Stepping Down as CEO

I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity to work with and learn from many amazing, passionate individuals and teams over the past couple of years.

This article was originally published on December 13, 2018 via LinkedIn

Dear kuFamily, customers, partners, investors and friends of Kulina,

Over the past couple of years, I have moved from San Francisco, California to Jakarta, Indonesia to be closer to my family and take on the new challenge of cracking the algorithm to feed the nation, joining forces with my co-founders, the Andy’s. I still remember my first trip to visit them in person at BITS co-working space (our office) before a promise to help them build product and team that can help bring us to the next stage.

Starting out as a product manager, then taking on the operations and finally running the company as a CEO has been more than an unforgettable and wonderful experience. One that would, without hesitation, repeat again if I were given a chance.

During my tenure,

  • We were selected as the only startup from Indonesia to join Google Launchpad Accelerator in San Francisco this year
  • We were selected as the only startup from Southeast Asia to attend Blackbox Connect in August in San Francisco
  • We were invited to World Economic Forum in Hanoi, Vietnam as a startup representing Indonesia
  • We won a spot for Semi-Final Pitch at RISE Conference's Main Stage in Hong Kong
  • We were chosen as one of Indonesia's promising startups to attend Nexticorn in Bali
  • We brought up numbers of daily orders from 30 to as high as 3,000, that’s 100x!
  • We have done all sampling partnerships with the top F&B brands from Coca-cola, Danone, Unilever, and many more
  • We launched our marketplace for catering with KFC, Kafe Betawi, Chicken Run, and many other brands
  • We also recently won the 2nd place among Go-Food & GrabFood (two Unicorns in the regions) at the Mobile DNA

Of course, this wasn’t my solo contribution. But this proved the point that the team has excelled beyond what we could imagine back when I started. Thanks to both Blackbox Connect and Founder’s Coaching Pause programs that made me realize where I was heading to and reminded me of my original goal of building the product and organization we would be proud of to take us to the next stage.

As glamorous as it sounds, however, I became more and more strayed away from one of the reasons I moved back to Asia—to reconnect and spend more time with my family. I was “working hard” that I barely called back or flew home. I did not know my dad was in the hospital until he was out. One of my grandparents was diagnosed that he has less than two years to live. I didn’t know my brother was undergoing depression. I didn’t know how serious our family's financials was and what was causing them. It’s time for me to rethink my priority in life.

With the support of my co-founders, Andy Hidayat, Andy Fajar, and investors, I decided to step down as the CEO of the company and will stay on as a Chairman, helping smoothen the transition. We expect an easy transition as we have been developing leaders internally. Andy Hidayat has been working closely with me day and night for the past year, making major decisions together. He is stepping into the CEO role.

I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity to work with and learn from many amazing, passionate individuals and teams over the past couple of years. While I couldn’t wait to see how Kulina will thrive under Andy and our team’s leadership, I am excited to reconnect with my family, ones I have neglected for the past 10+ years.

See you in the next chapter,

Casper Sermsuksan

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