In 2010, Go-Jek started business in Indonesia with 20 motorcycles. The idea was to transform the “ojek” (motorcycle taxi) market by offering an app that would help riders and passengers to easily find each other. The easiest way to describe the service is like an Uber for motorcycle taxis. Jump forward to eight years and Go-Jek now has over one million riders and 18 different app-based services. Go-Jek is the first unicorn startup to emerge from Indonesia and is the only company in Southeast Asia that featured on the recent Fortune list of 50 companies that changed the world.
But ride-hailing and logistics are getting busy in Indonesia. Jakarta is becoming inundated with technology and startups all competing for business. The Singapore-based Grab recently raised over $1 billion in funding specifically for further expansion of their own ride-hailing service in Indonesia.
Grab sees expansion in Indonesia as essential, as it is Southeast Asia’s biggest market. They recently received $1 billion in funding from Toyota, taking them up to a valuation of around $11 billion. Earlier this year when Grab bought out all the regional operations of Uber, they were valued at around $6 billion; companies in this sector are growing fast and Indonesia is a key part of their growth strategy. The expansion of Go-Jek beyond ride-hailing is extremely interesting though. They are embracing the mobile-first culture of many customers in Indonesia and offering 18—soon to be 20— different services from one app.
In particular, Go-Jek is transforming the logistics industry. Their experience of ride-hailing and the automatic optimization of how to use riders more effectively led to their development of several delivery services. Now they offer a medicine delivery service, food delivery, and grocery delivery.
Other services are taking fintech to the Go-Jek environment. Phone credits can be topped up, bills can be paid, and the app also offers a digital wallet so the app can be used to pay for services, too. Go-Jek has plotted an exciting path from ride-hailing to logistics and then leveraging the size of their network to launch important new services that may even challenge local financial service companies in the region.
It’s a great example of how a company can develop if they just focus on delivering a great experience to the customer. They could see how their expertise in one field would easily transfer to another industry and as they built a network of customers it became easier to add on complementary services. They are in the process of expanding to Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, and the Philippines, where this focus on the customer should see them achieving further strong growth.
Let me know what you think about the startup scene in Indonesia and the expansion of Go-Jek by leaving a comment here or send a message directly via my LinkedIn profile.