Go-Jek Consortium In Indonesia Close to Achieve Profitability

Nadiem Makarim, founder of the Indonesian ride-hailing and online payment firm Go-Jek poses for a photograph following an interview with Reuters at the Go-Jek offices in Jakarta, Indonesia, August 15, 2018. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside

Indonesia start-up Go-Jek, one of ASEAN leading ride-hailing company is “extremely close” to achieving profitability in all its segments, except transportation, its founder and chief executive, Nadiem Makarim, declared to news agency Reuters.

Launched in Jakarta in 2011, Go-Jek is Indonesia’s first billion-dollar startup. The company evolved from a purely ride-hailing service company to a one-stop app offering a range of various services. Go-Jek clients can make online payments and order everything from food, groceries to massages in Indonesia.

“We’re seeing enormous online-to-offline traction for all of our businesses and are close to being profitable, outside of transportation,” the 34-year old chief executive said to Reuters.

The startup is expected to be fully profitable “probably” within the next few years, Nadiem added.

Already a market leader in Indonesia, where it processes more than 100 million transactions for its 20-25 million monthly users, Go-Jek is now looking to expand in Southeast Asia.

Ride-hailing services in Southeast Asia are expected to surge to $20.1 billion in gross merchandise value by 2025 from $5.1 billion in 2017, according to a Google-Temasek report.

Go-Jek said in May that it would invest $500 million to enter Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines after Uber struck a deal to sell its Southeast Asian operations to Grab – the bigger player in the region.

Go-Jek is seeing strong funding interest from its backers as it targets an aggressive expansion, Nadiem said.

“Since its Aug. 1 launch, the app has already grabbed 15 percent of market share in Ho Chi Minh,” Nadiem said. The firm this week opened recruitment for motorcycle drivers in Thailand.

The startup expects anti-monopoly concerns swirling around the Grab-Uber deal, which Singapore said had substantially hurt competition, to help clear a path for its expansion.

“We’re bringing back choice. The Singapore government is particularly eager to bring back competition,” Nadiem said, adding that the order of overseas rollouts had not been set.

Overseas Push

Go-Jek’s offshore push comes at a time when Singapore-based Grab is stepping up funding to expand in Indonesia and transform itself into a consumer technology company, starting with a partnership with online grocer HappyFresh.

“Mimicking Go-Jek’s strategy is the highest form of flattery,” Nadiem laughed.

“The super app strategy has been around for a while now and no Southeast Asian player can claim to have pioneered it,” Grab told Reuters in a statement. The company also said Grab has not lost market share in Ho Chi Minh City since August, but declined to provide market share data.

Nadiem believes Go-Jek’s understanding of food merchants will give it an edge over Grab, which counts investors such as Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing and Japan’s SoftBank Group among its backers.

Nadiem, who sees food delivery as Go-Jek’s core business, said he was not concerned about funding, without giving details.

Go-Jek was reported in June as being in talks to raise $1.5 billion in a new funding round and was valued at about $5 billion in a prior fundraising, sources have told Reuters. The firm had said in March it was considering a domestic initial public offering.

Nadiem noted Go-Jek’s backers were sharing both capital and expertise. The company is collaborating with Google on platform mobility, Tencent on payments strategy, JD.com on logistics operations and Meituan Dianping on merchant transactions and deliveries.

Go-Jek has set up a venture capital arm, Go-Ventures, to invest in startups in Southeast Asia “with strategic importance to our business,” the chief executive said.

(Source: Reuters)