Started as a motorcycle ride-hailing service in 2010, Indonesia’s best-known startup has expanded its services into a cutting-edge mobile platform with various services, including on-demand transportation (Go-Ride and Go-Car), logistics (Go-Send), mobile payments (Go-Pay), food delivery (Go-Food), and others — in many cases providing a positive jolt to the fortunes of small businesses after registering with the platform.
In its early stages, Go-Jek experienced issues with traditional motorcycle taxi riders – ojek - with fights breaking out in many areas as the newcomer disrupted old ways of doing business. Traditional taxi services were also disrupted, and many local administrations continue to struggle to find a way of keeping everyone happy, with some continuing to ban ride-hailing services. The central government continues to be confused about how to regulate the new business mode, having to shelve a number of attempts to establish a set of rules.
Go-Jek’s initial stated mission was to improve the welfare and livelihoods of workers in various informal sectors in Indonesia, where it adopted three essential values, described by the company as speed, innovation and social impact.
Nadiem Makarim established PT Aplikasi Karya Anak Bangsa as the operator of the Go-Jek app, and its services are now available in 50 cities across the archipelago, with a target of expanding to more cities in the near future. There is talk of expansion to both the Philippines and Singapore – the latter in a tie-up with traditional taxi operator ComfortDelGro – and acquisitions have been completed in India.
Go-Jek has become a social phenomenon, with over 300,000 riders that are covered with health benefits, insurance, safety training and access to microfinance loans. Initially, it started with only a call center and just 20 riders.
Having shifted the landscape of the transportation business in Indonesia, Go-Jek is the only Southeast Asian company listed in the Fortune Change the World 2017 list of top 50 companies, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Apple, Microsoft and Unilever.
In August 2016, the company raised over $550 million in a new round of funding led by KKR and Warburg Pincus, after launching the app in January 2015. Go-Jek is the first Indonesian ‘Unicorn’, a title given to startup companies that acquire a valuation of over $1 billion, with assumed transaction value of Rp1.8 billion per day.