GoTo’s shareholding structure is even more complex. After the merger, Gojek shareholders hold around 58% of the new group, according to a filing with authorities on Monday, while Tokopedia’s have 42%. Japan’s SoftBank and China’s Alibaba Group Holding, the biggest shareholders in Tokopedia before the merger, now hold the top stakes in GoTo, at 15.3% and 12.6%, respectively.
Gojek and Tokopedia also count US tech giant Google and Singapore’s state investor, Temasek, among their shareholders. Other investors in Gojek include Facebook, which invested in the company’s payment arm; global private equity company KKR; Indonesian conglomerate Astra International; and Chinese tech giant Tencent.
Long-standing rivalries between some of GoTo’s shareholders — such as Alibaba and Tencent, or Facebook and Google —could hinder the new company from making swift decisions.
Asked about this possibility during the media briefing on Monday, Soelistyo said: “We are here because we have a clear mission and long-term roles that we each individually and now collectively are passionate about. … I don’t think there are any issues with some rivalry that can be seen from our cap table.”
A look back at the early days of Amazon may help predict the future of Southeast Asia’s tech landscape. Founded in 1994, Amazon made its Nasdaq debut in 1997 and quickly became a dot-com darling. However, its stock price cratered when the bubble burst, and the company clung to survival, not reporting a full-year net profit until 2003 — nine years after its founding. Many of the other dot-com companies went out of business, having never turned a profit.
Gojek and Tokopedia are already more than a decade old, and Grab celebrated its ninth anniversary this year. All of these companies may present an optimistic future to shareholders in slide decks. But growth until this point has been turbocharged by the abundant risk capital provided by venture capitalists, private equity funds and strategic investors. The total sum of these capital investments in private companies easily exceeds the amount back in the late 1990s. When Amazon went public in 1997, was valued at less than $500 million.
GoTo, Grab and Sea may soon have to prove to investors that they have a sustainable, high-growth business model — the most important factor in deciding which will become the champion in Southeast Asia’s high-stakes tech battle.