Indonesia to curate 100 startups to showcase to global investors, aims to have 5th unicorn by 2019

Jakarta, Indonesia. Photo by al ghazali on Unsplash

Indonesia could be on its way to sport a fifth unicorn (or a startup with a valuation of $1 billion or more), after Go-Jek, Traveloka, Tokopedia, and Bukalapak achieved the feat, by 2019, according to communications and technology minister Rudiantara.

To achieve that target, the government is collaborating with independent bodies such as global consultant firm Ernest and Young (EY) and VC association AMVESINDO, as well as unicorn founders Nadiem Makarim (Go-Jek) and William Tanuwijaya (Tokopedia), to curate from 50-100 startups in 2018 that will be presented in the international market.

“We will curate startups or businesses that are in the late stages of Series A, Series B and above. We will bring them to meet with foreign investors, starting from Shanghai next year,” Rudiantara said in his speech at Plug n Play Indonesia’s event discussion on Blockchain and AI tech in Jakarta on Tuesday.

Under the coordination of his ministry, 44 startups were selected and flown to Silicon Valley earlier this year to meet with investors. Among them were Orami-Bilna, KoinWorks, Cashlez, Lemonilo, AhliJasa, Berrykitchen, Bridestory, EVHive, Bareksa, Snapcart, and Modalku. Several deals of new investments and follow-ons were secured, Rudiantara said but declined from giving more details.

Bukalapak became the fourth startup to achieve the unicorn status after CEO Ahmad Zacky announced last month that it had received a funding round that boosted the company’s valuation. He did not reveal details about the size of the financing, nor identity of the investor(s).

Online travel agent site Traveloka became a unicorn this year when it received $500 million in fresh funds from US-based Expedia, Sequoia, East Ventures,, and Hillhouse Capital. Tokopedia, the country’s largest marketplace platform, grabbed $1.1 billion from Alibaba when it rose to unicorn status.

Meanwhile, Go-Jek – Indonesia’s first billion-dollar tech startup – plans to become a listed company within a few years. “We are definitely going to IPO,” Makarim said at Bloomberg’s Year Ahead Asia Conference in Jakarta today.

He said his company will make the expansion of its digital-payment service Go-Pay in 2018 a top priority. Currently, the KKR and Warburg Pincus-backed firm’s customers use Go-Pay for a wide range of services that Go-Jek offers on its mobile app. Makarim’s goal is to let his customers pay for coffee, grocery, tickets and other things outside the realm of Go-Jek’s services.

“2018 will be the year of Go-Pay,” he said, as quoted by Bloomberg, adding that the focus is on signing up partners in Indonesia so its digital wallet can be accepted by both online and offline merchants across the country.

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