Nadiem Makarim, the founder of an Indonesian ride-hailing service Go-Jek has made it grow his company from scratch to a Unicorn with an estimated value closer to $5 billion within 6 years. How did he achieve that?

The Idea

It all started with an idea to improve and solve the inefficiency in pricing and reliability of the motorcycle taxis, locally known as ojeks.


“That was very frustrating for me because I got to know many of them personally,” explained Makarim, saying that, while working in Indonesia, he would regularly hire them to make deliveries and collect food for him. “By getting to know them I quickly realized that this informal sector is incredibly valuable.” Makarim told CNBC’s “Managing Asia.


Growing up in Indonesia, Makarim understands very clearly, how important is ojeks to the economy of the country.


He then decided to do something about it. So he teamed up with the co-founders, Kevin Aluwi and Michaelangelo Moran and started Go-Jek while studying for his MBA in Harvard.


The Success Factor

Initially, Go-Jek only acts as a simple call-center by matching 20 riders with passengers. It then quickly expanded into a multi-services app that served more than a million workforce.



“Contrary to conventional advice, Go-Jek decided to move quickly from pure ride-hailing to food delivery, on-call beauty services, entertainment booking and even e-payments, with the aim of becoming a full-service “platform that fixes things.” That was something Makarim felt was especially needed in Asia, where mobile adoption is growing and consumers have shown a preference for “one-stop shop” platforms.”


“He or she (customer) is a human being with day-to-day problems, and we built a product around the frictions that an average person experiences in their day to day life.” Makarim told CNBC’s Christine Tan.

Regional Expansion


According to Go-Jek, they are going to invest $500 million to expand out of Indonesia and start conquering the Southeast Asia market after the exit of Uber from the region. The countries aimed are Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, and the Philippines.


Go-Jeks has launched their operation in Vietnam since 1st of August and named as Go-Viet.


“Since its Aug. 1 launch, the app has already grabbed 15 percent of market share in Ho Chi Minh,” Makarim said.


In Thailand, on the other hand, Get, which is the local unit of Go-Jek in Thailand has started opened for recruitment for motorcycle drivers.



Source: Fortune Insight, CNBC, Reuters


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