Photo: Courtesy of Indonesia Tatler Archive
Make way for one of Indonesia’s most recognised entrepreneurs, Ferry Unardi. The CEO and founder of online platform Traveloka has become a major inspiration for both young entrepreneurs and seasoned businessmen—and why wouldn’t he? The man has been through lots of ups and downs, and he deserves every title he’s gained from his glorious debut. Although surrounded by success, his identity remains shrouded in mystery through lack of exposure. And for that reason, we have compiled for you the five things you need to know about our 2017 Generation T honouree, Ferry Unardi. Read on!
Started as an engineer
Although Ferry Unardi is one of the most prestigious entrepreneurs in Indonesia now, he stated that he wasn’t initially invested in business. Rather, he’s had his focus on engineering. Not exactly the typical story of a rising businessman, is it? With all his business studying maths in college and having a career at Microsoft, building a business of his own was the least of his concerns. It wasn’t until he took his first steps at Microsoft that he learned that he wasn’t meant to be an engineer after all.
Problems create innovations
With new perspectives in mind, Unardi decided to test the water, travel to China, and see what was in store for him—although it wasn’t until later that the idea of Traveloka dawned. Being a student in Boston, an employee in Seattle, and an avid traveller to his hometown in Padang, he found it very difficult to book a flight and figure out a certain route, which resulted in the main premise of Traveloka.
Drop out to start up
The journey wasn’t always fun and games for Unardi. With the intention of building Traveloka, Unardi decided to learn the ins and outs of all things business and started out his studies at Harvard Business School. However, another spontaneous decision had to be made once again after only one semester. It was a very hard decision for him, but he did it anyway—he dropped out. And for good reason: it was the perfect time to bring his idea into fruition as the travel business was soaring at the time in Indonesia. He also stated once that if he hadn’t made the jump at that time, he would’ve missed the opportunity.
As his business expands and grows, Unardi had to also focus his attention on lots of different things such as team management. What started out as a small team of developers grew into a vast community with different divisions and responsibilities. He then learned that although it wasn’t related directly to his business or the Internet, he too had to learn and successfully bring his team together if he wanted his business to last long.
Innovation for the better
The glorious success of Traveloka wasn’t always as recognised as it is now. Lots of things have changed since its initial debut such as the service it’s offering—it started out as a simple flight search and aggregating platform. One major obstacle, in particular, was the fact that airlines didn’t particularly notice the presence of Traveloka. Ferry stole their attention by gaining huge numbers of users who used Traveloka’s platform, which, in return, created interest from airlines companies. What a ride he’s been on!