In a farewell letter to Gojek employees on Wednesday, co-founder and former CEO Nadiem Makarim said he decided to join the government to help transform Indonesia’s education system so it can continue producing high-quality talent.
Makarim is set to become the country’s education and culture minister, and at 35, its youngest minister to date.
“Our schools and academic institutions are going to have to meet the demands of our future economy. That’s why, when I received the mandate to be the Minister of Education and Culture, I knew it was something I had to do,” he wrote in the letter.
He also highlighted the strides made by the company since its inception nine years ago in “a tiny office in Jakarta.”
“We started this company with nothing, other than a deep desire to change things for the better. We saw that the streets of Jakarta were a mess and that there was an informal community of ojek drivers who could easily act as a huge part of the solution to that mess, if only they were organised and working efficiently,” he said.
Today, the startup, valued at around $10 billion, processes over two billion transactions a year and offers a host of services such as food delivery, ride-hailing, digital payments, shopping, hyper-local delivery, among others.
In the process of expanding vertically and geographically, the company has raised as many as 12 funding rounds totalling some $3.1 billion from investors including Google, Tencent and Warburg Pincus.
“We’re no longer a ride-hailing company, we’re now a technology business with the power to really improve life across the board – consumers, drivers, merchants, service providers and their families. Everyone has benefitted, whether we’ve reduced friction in their daily lives or we’ve created income-earning opportunities for those who need it most,” Makarim said.
Taking over from Makarim are new co-CEOs Andre Soelistyo and co-founder Kevin Aluwi. Soelistyo will focus on corporate functions and capital management, international expansion, payments and financial services while Aluwi will focus on product development, marketing, organizational development, transportation and food delivery.
In his farewell letter, Makarim said he is leaving the company in “capable hands.”
“They are quite simply Gojek’s best. They have been running this company for a number of years and I have complete faith not just in their technical skills and ability to execute flawlessly, but also in their integrity and their desire to do the right thing every step of the way,” Makarim said.
A joint statement released by Soelistyo and Aluwi on Wednesday said: “When a friend and mentor leaves a business you have built together, there is always going to be some sadness, but we are both determined that Gojek will go from strength to strength. We will continue to implement our vision as we focus on what the Gojek of the next ten years is going to be like.”