Indonesia boasts the biggest Muslim population in the world, with 87% of its 267 mil people are adherents of Islam.

The importance of halalness for food and other products have been reiterated by the government and various factors of society. In the last 4 years, the halal industry has now expanded beyond the food sector to include pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, health products, logistics, as well as the booming halal tourism and modest fashion industries.

In Indonesia, Law number 33 of 2014 on Assurance of Halal Products will be implemented in October 2019. While the law covers food and food products, cosmetics and pharmaceutical made from plants, animal, microbe, and materials made from the chemical process, biological process and genetical engineering, but its implication will also impact other parts of lifestyle.

Needless to say, while problems and several pain points do persist, there are many opportunities for businesses in or adjacent to the halal sector. 

A good team for the ecosystem

Observing the dynamics of halal lifestyle in Indonesia (and across many other countries), a group of technology, finance, investment, and business veterans decided to create a company to help foster the trend and the ecosystem.

Halal Lifestyle Indonesia (HLI), founded earlier this year, is led by Pak Iwan Pontjowinoto, who spent 35 years in banking, capital markets, investment management, social security, and information technology. Iwan started his career at IBM, where he stayed for 11 years, and where he brought the first personal computer into Indonesia. He started the Indonesian mutual fund industry, launched the first Islamic mutual fund and the Jakarta Islamic Index. He is also the founder and first chairman of the Indonesia Islamic Society

The other co-founders are:

Kames Natakusumah: Kames has always been passionate about building Islamic insurance broking in his 22 years of experience in the insurance industry. He has established Islamic broking unit at Aon Indonesia, part of the world’s 2nd largest insurance broking firm. He also recently served as Chief Commercial Officer of AXA Indonesia. Kames also sits on the board of many startups.

Nene Harmulyo: Nene has more than 22 years of experience in capital markets, mainly managing Islamic products. Nene specializes in product development, operations and compliance, and unit-links investment management.

Batara Adidarma: Batara has specialization in Financing from his 20 years experience in the banking industry. Batara is very strong in credit analysis and corporate lending.

Asep Ruhimat: Asep has more than 25 years of experience in capital markets, mainly in mutual funds and Islamic investment. He specializes in product development, marketing, and investment management.

Eko Wari: Eko has more than 24 years of experience in the insurance industry, especially in general insurance and export insurance. His last position was President Director of ASEI, a state-owned export insurance company. In 2017 Eko decided to move into digital and technology industries for insurance.

Value Proposition

Iwan believes that the business model of HLI is not to compete against the existing halal themed businesses but to become an enabler. “We welcome quality partners who share the same vision.”

Many also have the common misconception is that halal is about religion. Pak Iwan, CEO of HLI shared with MW previously that Halal is not about religion but a lifestyle, and that it is about contributing to society for the benefit of mankind. For example, there has been a growing trend of non-muslims choosing to consume halal food. Why? The benefit such as food safety standards required by halal certification was a driving factor for them. This is an example of halal having benefits for everyone, not just Muslims.

Currently, with partners from different industries such as HalalNode (e-commerce – and a Momentum Works venture), Muslimnesia (lifestyle), and Hijra (fintech), HLI seeks to empower the ease of obtaining halal lifestyle for conscious consumers.

“We enable access to quality and accurate information and assurance of halal-ness,” says Iwan. “From food, fashion, and travel, to financing, investment, and philanthropy, we cover it all. That’s lifestyle for you.”

The purpose

“I am pretty sure most of you are familiar with Maslow Hierarchy of Needs,” he adds. “What about Maqasid of Shariah?”

It actually refers to the objectives or purposes behind the Islamic rulings. Not only is it important for them to understand or interpret the texts of Shariah, but also to derive solutions to contemporary problems faced by Muslims. It is categorized into 3 areas: Necessities, Needs, and Luxuries.

Necessities are essential elements for a human being. Here, we look at how necessities are further subdivided into ‘five elements of preservations’. The objective of Islamic rulings is mainly to protect these five elements from any harm.

“We understand consumer needs, and actually deliver,” emphasizes Iwan.

Win-win Solution

HLI focuses on improving the halal ecosystem and solving a few key pain points faced by almost all halal consumers.

Consumers that need halal products and services will:

  • Get accurate and credible information
  • Obtain proper advice on the right products and services
  • Convenient access for transacting halal products and services

Also, merchants and institutions will enjoy more customers and orders for their products and services through e-commerce links.

Kames is excited about this opportunity. “The team’s past professional experience has given us the fundamentals on how to grow the business and maximize our shareholders’ wealth. We all share a common vision and that is to make Halal a daily lifestyle whilst at the same time view a huge business opportunity if we execute our business strategy, the halal-way.”

HLI wishes to make a positive impact in the future of the Halal industry, and the lives of many.





Iwan, Kames, and the HLI team will be present at MWC Shanghai on 26-28 June as part of the Momentum Works delegation. Iwan and Kames will also be key speakers at the Momentum Works China – Indonesia Fintech Summit, held in Shanghai on 26 June. Meet them to exchange about exciting updates and opportunities in Indonesia. Join us!


Thanks for reading The Low Down (TLD), the blog by the team at Momentum Works. Got a different perspective or have a burning opinion to share? Let us know at [email protected].


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Prior to Momentum Works, Yorlin was in the financial sector in SIngapore and Hong Kong for 10 years - working with the Monetary Authority of Singapore, AXA and HSBC. She feels that corporate knowledge are undervalued in the start-up ecosystem and want to change this. At Momentum Works, she manages operations, overseeing joint venture operations with partners from all over the world. She always makes time to speak to people as you never know what’s the next game changer in the fickle world of fintech, e-commerce or mobile internet. In her free time, you can find her being the slave to her 5 cats.


  1. I am very happy to know there is such a company like this. A trully pioneer in halal lifestyle and I realize we all moslems need this. Keep up the good work and wish you and your team the BEST of luck for the future coming.

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