Gadjian cofounders Afia Fitriati and Else Fernanda are partners in business and in life. “He likes to joke that I’m the foreign minister,” Fitriati notes. “At the end of the day, we are co-CEOs. That’s definitely how we do it.” This entrepreneurial married couple has been around the block in the Indonesian marketplace, founding their first company, FAST 8, as a custom software developer. “Our story actually begins in 2008,” explains Fitriati. “We were doing IT back then, doing custom IT projects for companies.” Interested in expanding their customer base, Fitriati and Fernanda began considering how to put their IT expertise to wider use. Always up for a challenge, the couple developed a customizable desktop application called Fixed Income Trading System (FITS), tailor-made for the finance industry in Indonesia.

Having made great strides in IT and finance, Fitriati and Fernanda didn’t stop there. “We were wondering how can we grow the company,” says Fitriati. This led to the creation of HRD Helper, a web-based human resources application for medium and large companies. Through the development of HRD Helper, Fitriati and Fernanda came to possess a clear understanding of HR management in Indonesia, including all of its unique challenges. In their quest to provide even more user-friendly and convenient services, the couple began to build up their offerings in 2014. According to Fitriati, around that time “we learned that there is this cloud platform that can help us scale our project, so we decided that we would do it and move the knowledge that we have on Indonesia’s HR industry to the cloud.”

Gadjian means payday in Indonesian, and it’s the name of Fitriati and Fernanda’s newest business venture, officially launched in 2016, which offers cloud-based payroll and human resources solutions to small and medium-sized Indonesian businesses. The company provides its services via two integrated apps, which cover payroll management, personnel data storage, leave administration (including overtime, vacation, and sick days), shift scheduling, and employee loan management. It’s a multifaceted approach that makes perfect sense for a pair of entrepreneurs who have repeatedly demonstrated their adeptness at meeting the demands of a quickly changing marketplace over the past decade.


In following their noses into the realm of human resources, Fitriati says that at first “what surprised us was just how complex the HR administration in Asia is.” But that level of complexity meant that the field was wide open for a software-as-a-service business model. “I would say we’re quite leading in the market because of our knowledge,” says Fitriati. “Our peers that are trying to copy us are just discovering that this is not an easy game to play.” Plus, being an Indonesian company, Gadjian is specifically designed to serve the Indonesian marketplace, which is unique. “We’re in a domain that’s quite hard to plot,” explains Fitriati.

Part of that difficulty stems from the Indonesian government’s mode of operation—Fitriati says that it’s still in the midst of figuring out how to best support local businesses and also maintains a lengthy immigration process for newcomers, even skilled workers who wish to relocate to Indonesia for jobs. Additionally, according to Fitriati, “recruiting developers is insanely hard in Indonesia.” In other words, there’s more demand for the skill set than there are available developers. Indonesia may have the highest population in Southeast Asia, but its universities aren’t yet graduating enough software developers to fill all the open positions in the national market. “There’s increasing interest, it’s just not keeping up with the pace,” says Fitriati. Talent is important at Gadjian, as the company is focused on expanding while still providing the most user-friendly experience possible through its apps.

Moving forward, Gadjian is looking for ways to work directly with the employees of the companies it serves. “The interesting thing about a cloud-based HR software is the employees also use it,” explains Fitriati. “We can reach them, and that’s where we see our opportunities are coming from.” Given their proven track record of accomplishing everything they set out to do, it’s likely Fitriati and Fernanda will make it happen.