Gojek Co-Founder to Join Jokowi Government in Indonesia

Indonesia, Joko WIdodo, government, Gojek

Nadiem Makarim, ex CEO Gojek (Photo: voffice.co.id)

Nadiem Makarim, co-founder of Indonesia’s first startup Gojek, has resigned as chief executive officer of the ride-hailing giant to take on a cabinet post in the country’s new government of Joko Widodo. Its official position will be announced on Wednesday. 

The appointment of Nadiem Makarin is in line with President Joko Widodo’s publicly stated preference to include professionals and millennials in his second-term team. Widodo, commonly known as Jokowi, was sworn in on Sunday and is wasting little time in unveiling his cabinet roster.

The Gojek founder, who announced his resignation to reporters on Oct 21, hails from a prominent Indonesian family. His grandfather was part of the delegation that won the country’s independence from the Netherlands in a 1949 conference at The Hague.

Makarim started Gojek in 2010 as a call-centre arranging couriers in Jakarta. At that early stage, everything was done manually – employees called motorbike drivers one by one until someone accepted an order – and Makarim had to work at other startups in order to sustain Gojek.

It was only in 2014 that the Gojek co-founder decided to introduce a mobile app, with backing from private equity investor Northstar Group. When that debuted in January 2015, the service was so popular Gojek couldn’t cope with demand, he said in an interview in 2016.

Valued at US$10bil (RM41.84bil), Gojek today has more than 2 million drivers and 400,000 merchants, while its apps have been downloaded more than 155 million times in Southeast Asia. The company counts Google, JD.com Inc and Tencent Holdings Ltd among its investors and is seen as an icon for aspiring Indonesian entrepreneurs.