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Joseph Wadakethalakal steps down as CEO from Indonesian news and media firm Brilio

Joseph Wadakethalakal, the co-founder and chief executive officer of Indonesian digital content site Brilio, has stepped down in the wake of its acquisition by Kapanlagi – which professes to be Indonesia’s biggest entertainment site.

Started in 2015 in partnership with the Kapanlagi network, Wadakethalakal intended Brilio to be an online destination for a young audience. Its LinkedIn page pegs Brilio as “Indonesia’s leading digital content publisher focussing on the millennial audience with more than 20m monthly unique visitors”.

Wadakethalakal made the announcement via an email addressed to his “team, friends and colleagues”. Mumbrella is in possession of the email.

According to Wadakethalakal “Brilio was founded with KLY (Kapanlagi) as a founding partner. From day one, they believed in our vision of building the leading millennial media business in Indonesia.

“Over the years, I have had many conversations about Brilio’s future with KLY’s management team. Given their majority stake in Brilio, one option we discussed at length was the possibility of consolidating Brilio into KLY once Brilio had achieved meaningful scale.

“I think it is (near) impossible to build a start-up within a corporate structure. However, once a start-up has crossed a certain point, consolidation can take the business to the next level by focusing the resources, assets and know-how of the combined organisation towards supporting a formula that’s proven to work. This is the point that Brilio is at now.”

He went on to describe building Brilio as “perhaps the most meaningful professional experience of my life thus far”, adding: “My decision to leave comes after a period of deep introspection on what it is I would ultimately like to accomplish and has no bearing on my hopefulness for Brilio’s future. We have built a unique culture at Brilio; it is one that has allowed us to succeed and win despite the odds often being stacked against us. I look forward to seeing what comes next!”

Speaking to Mumbrella about whether the acquisition was likely to have an impact on the operations of Brilio, Wadakethalakal said: “The plan is for the editorial leadership of Brilio to report to one editorial lead who oversees all KLY verticals. This will allow Brilio to leverage existing content that is being created for other verticals but modify it for a younger/millennial audience.

“This should allow Brilio to ramp up content production and win more users. From a client perspective, not much should change. Brilio will run its own sales team; however the site will also probably slot into larger campaigns which are being run across multiple KLY verticals.”

He declined to comment on the valuation of the deal, citing confidentiality clauses, but said: “”It is in line with what I’ve seen other digital media players trade at. The structure was 100% cash.”

About his plans for the future, Wadakethalakal said: “I have a few entrepreneurial ideas but I haven’t decided which direction I’d like to pursue. I’m also talking to a few tech/media businesses that are interested in the Indonesian market. Whatever I do next, it will most likely have a heavy Indonesia focus.”

Wadakethalakal’s previous experience includes stints at JP Morgan, Zelnick Media and Kapanlagi.

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