Capital is crucial but not the only factor that has brought us this far, says Go-Jek co-founder Aluwi

Kevin Aluwi at DEALSTREETASIA's Indonesia PE-VC Summit 2019 in Jakarta. Photo: Ipsita Ray/DEALSTREETASIA

Capital is crucial but not the only factor that has brought Go-Jek to where it is today, said Go-Jek’s co-founder Kevin Aluwi.

During a fireside chat at DEALSTREETASIA‘s Indonesia PE-VC Summit 2019 on Thursday in Jakarta, Aluwi said that Go-Jek has been the undercapitalised player for most of its history. This however, did not limit its growth or success in any way.

When Go-Jek raised its first round of venture funding in mid-2014, its competition had raised $250 million. This placed Go-Jek at over 100x less capital compared to its competitor.

“I know it’s a cliche to say that it’s about serving customers better and building a better product, but it absolutely is true. Our journey absolutely validates that. We came in with a unique approach and a unique product and we managed to build a company up to this point when for a huge part of our history, we were always the undercapitalised player,” he said. 

Aluwi declined to comment on the size and deadline for Go-Jek’s current fundraising round. The Indonesian unicorn is understood to have secured commitments of nearly $2 billion from investors as part of the round already. Its arch-rival Grab is also currently fundraising and has so far received commitments of over $3 billion of the $5 billion it is seeking to raise.

Aluwi added that 2019 will be a year of building on the progress Go-Jek has made so far. Last year, the company ventured beyond its home market of Indonesia for the first time. It is currently present in Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

“2019 is going to be about further deepening the progress we’ve made in 2018,” said Aluwi. “We’ve broadened our stride to focus on the things that are important to us and our team will continue to do this next year.” 

According to Go-Jek, the company has over 130 million app downloads across SEA, 2 million driver partners, and over 400,000 partner merchants. It also claims to be SEA’s largest transactional platform with about $12.5 billion in annualised gross transaction value generated across its platform. Go-Jek also added that its food delivery business in Indonesia has over $2 billion in gross transaction value. 

Edited excerpts of a fireside chat with Kevin Aluwi:

How was 2018 for Go-Jek? You raised $1.5 billion, you started expanding internationally. What’s 2019 going to look like for you?

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.