Indonesia’s mobile on-demand services and payment platform Go-Jek has expanded into the venture capital space by setting up its own VC arm, according to industry sources.
Go-Jek has already started recruiting key executives for the venture arm. Former NSI Ventures senior investment associate Aditya Kumar and former Northstar Group associate Jonathan Barki are said to be among those that have been appointed to lead the business.
Kumar’s LinkedIn profile shows him as having joined Go-Jek this month as vice president for corporate development, while Barki has been the vice president for corporate strategy at the Indonesian firm for over a year.
NSI Ventures (now rebranded as Openspace Ventures) was a subsidiary of Northstar Group before going independent recently. Both NSI and Northstar were among early Go-Jek backers.
Go-Jek’s venture capital arm, which goes by the name of Go-Ventures, will target startups supporting the unicorn’s growth, sources say.
It is understood that the Go-Ventures has already started operating and has made investments in early-stage startups under the Northstar Group flag aided by the PE firm’s co-founder and managing partner Patrick Walujo.
Going forward, Go-Ventures will be using funds from Go-Jek’s balance sheet, one of the sources said.
Go-Jek said it “could not comment” when asked by DEALSTREETASIA for confirmation on the matter.
The VC arm will add formidable firepower to Go-Jek that is already the leading mobile-based consumer transactional platform in the country with over 15 million weekly active users, and enable it to get a strategic foothold in startups operating in sectors that complement its business.
Currently, Go-Jek’s publicly known investments include Bangladesh’s ride-hailing firm Pathao. The Indonesian unicorn injected around $2 million in Pathao, leading the first significant round of Series A capital venture financing for the Bangladesh startup. Go-Jek then participated in Pathao’s pre-series B round last month, in which Openspace Ventures was also a contributing investor.
Last year, Go-Jek also acquired three local fintech businesses, Kartuku, Midtrans and Mapan, to expand the usage of its Go-Pay service and cement its leadership in the digital wallet and independent payments processing space in Indonesia.
Prior to that, its largest rival in the region – Singapore headquartered Grab – had acquired Indonesian payment startup Kudo to augment its mobile payments platform in Southeast Asia’s largest economy.
As far as funding is concerned, Go-Jek recently raised $1.5 billion from a dozen investors including Tencent, BlackRock, Temasek Holdings, Meituan-Dianping, JD.com and Google at a $5 billion valuation. The round was joined by local conglomerate Astra International and investment firm Global Digital Niaga.
The funds raised in the round were 25 per cent higher than the company initially planned and will be allocated for a number of expansion plans, Go-Jek has said.
Last month, Reuters reported that Go-Jek is set to announce its first expansion to another country in Southeast Asia and plans to expand to three other Southeast Asian countries by the middle of this year. Earlier this month, it had been reported that Go-Jek identified Singapore as one of the Southeast Asian markets it plans to expand to this year, along with the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.
Established in 2010 as a motorcycle ride-hailing service, Go-Jek has evolved into an on-demand mobile platform providing a wide range of services that include transportation, logistics, mobile payments, food delivery, and many other on-demand services.
It’s now by far the largest ride-hailing, food delivery and instant logistics business and leading digital wallet provider in Indonesia, with about a million drivers, more than 135,000 merchants and over 120 million transactions processed through its platform per month.
It was recently reported that Go-Jek is also looking to enter the online content business by launching a content service called Go-Play, as well as set up Go-Studios to facilitate the production of content such as documentaries, feature films and short films.