We are proud to hear that the Minister of Communication and Information, Rudiantara, has said that there are now seven Unicorn start-ups right now in ASEAN and four of them come from Indonesia. Unicorn is a title given to a start-up company valued at more than US$1 billion. Currently, the four Unicorns in Indonesia are Go-Jek, Tokopedia, Traveloka, and Bukalapak. This is not a small feat, and hopefully in time we will see more inspirational Unicorns sprouting up in Indonesia, especially those that can help solve the big problems that we face here. Now, let’s take a closer look at the four Unicorn start-ups in Indonesia and their achievements.
Go-Jek was founded in 2010 by Nadiem Makarim and it was the first Indonesian start-up to achieve the Unicorn title after receiving a total funding of US$550 million from a consortium of eight investors headed by Sequoia Capital and Warburg back in 2016. Its valuation increased after Go-Jek received additional funding worth US$1.2 billion from Chinese mega-corporations Tencent Holding and JD.com. With a total funding of US$1.75 billion, Go-Jek’s valuation is now in the highest strata among the four unicorns in Indonesia. Recently, Go-Jek officially launched its service in Vietnam and Thailand as its first wave of international expansion that was planned for months after bringing in prestigious investors such as Astra International, Warburg Pincus, KKR, Meituan, Tencent, Google, Temasek, and others. The total investment gained by Go-Jek is US$500 million allocated for its international expansion. The next Southeast Asian countries they are planning to expand into are Singapore and the Philippines.
Tokopedia was founded by William Tanuwijaya in 2009 and became the second start-up in Indonesia to achieve the Unicorn title. The biggest funding Tokopedia has received was recorded last year when it received a total funding of US$1.1 billion from Alibaba. Similar to Go-Jek, Tokopedia became a Unicorn after six years of operations. Recently, William Tanuwijaya said that his shares in Tokopedia will decrease as giant investors such as Sequoia, Softbank, and Alibaba come into the picture, but he maintains that having shares was not his main priority when he built Tokopedia and his purpose is not to seek personal financial gain.
Bukalapak was founded by Achmad Zaky in 2010, and last year he said that the company has reached a more-than-US$1 billion valuation after an undisclosed funding round, putting it among the four Unicorn start-ups in Indonesia. CEO Achmad Zaky refused to share the investors’ identities, but he strongly emphasised that the investors were all local as his aim is not to let his company fall into the management of foreign investors. What we know so far is that Indonesia media and technology company Emtek Group is the biggest shareholder with more than 49 per cent ownership of the company. It has also set up a joint venture with Ant Financial to launch a Blackberry Messenger-based mobile payment service in Indonesia. Other than Emtek Group, Bukalapak also has 500 Startups, GREE Ventures, and Queens Bridge Venture Partners as its investors.
Founded by Ferry Unardi and two of his friends in 2012, Traveloka is the fourth Indonesian start-up to become a Unicorn. Traveloka achieved the title after getting funding injection between 2016 and 2017 from Expedia, East Ventures, Hillhouse Capital Group, JD.com, and Sequoia Capital, gaining a total funding of US$500 million. Traveloka is also considered to be the fastest-growing start-up that achieved the Unicorn title after five years of operation. Recently, Traveloka officially launched its latest service: PayLater, which allows users to have a safe and comfortable trip through flexible payment instalments and low interest rates.