Go-Jek is now a ‘decacorn’

Go-Jek’s Chief Executive Officer, Nadiem Makarim. (Photo courtesy of Bloomberg)

Indonesian ride-hailing service Go-Jek’s value has been estimated at US$10 billion by a United States (US) market intelligence company, putting it in the ranks of start-ups called decacorns.

New York-based CB Insights has listed Go-Jek among 19 decacorns around the world, along with the likes of Uber Technologies Inc. That would make Go-Jek Indonesia’s first start-up to join the US$10 billion market-valuation club, and the second in Southeast Asia after rival ride-hailing service Grab.

Go-Jek’s valuation reflects the confidence investors have that the company will continue to grow, Nila Marita, its chief of corporate affairs, said, without confirming details of its value.

An initial public offering remains “a long-term aim for Go-Jek but it is not in our immediate future,” she said in a text message to the media. “Our focus is on growing the business and serving our users and partners in the countries we operate in.”

Indonesian Communications Minister Rudiantara, who like many Indonesians uses only one name, said that while news of Go-Jek reaching decacorn status hasn’t been confirmed and is based only on the CB Insights report, it’s a big achievement. “It is indeed a significant milestone not only for Indonesia but also for the region,” he said in a text message.

Unicorn, decacorn

A unicorn is a closely held start-up valued at more than US$1 billion, while decacorn uses the Greek word for ‘ten’.

Go-Jek and Grab are battling for supremacy in the Southeast Asian market after Uber pulled out of the region last year. Grab recently raised about US$1.5 billion from SoftBank Group Corp.’s Vision Fund, bankrolling its effort to expand into new services across the region. That means it’s received about US$4.5 billion from investors over the past year.

Go-Jek has presented a challenge for Grab, with the Jakarta-based start-up marching into Grab’s home market of Singapore as well as Vietnam and Thailand. Go-Jek Chief Executive Officer Nadiem Makarim and Grab founder Anthony Tan were classmates at Harvard Business School.

Southeast Asia’s two most valuable start-ups have been looking to rapidly expand in everything from mobile payments to food delivery. Go-Jek raised more than US$1 billion in a continuing funding round from a clutch of internet giants including Google, JD.com Inc. and Tencent Holdings Ltd., a person with knowledge of the financing said in January. Both companies are using the proceeds to shore up their positions in Indonesia and expand around the region, while merging payments with ride-sharing and food delivery to create so-called super apps. - Bloomberg