Indonesia’s GOJEK secures investment from Siam Commercial Bank

Photo by GO JEK

Indonesia-headquartered ride-hailing unicorn GOJEK has announced an undisclosed investment from Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), Thailand’s largest lender by assets, as part of its ongoing Series F funding round.

In a statement on Thursday, GOJEK said SCB will partner with the ride-hailing startup’s Thai affiliate GET to enable payment experiences and create a more vibrant ecosystem for GET users, drivers, merchants, and partners in Thailand.  

The development was first reported by Bloomberg.

GOJEK officially launched in Bangkok this February by offering motorcycle rides and food delivery services, intensifying the competition with its Singapore-based rival Grab. The startup claimed to have recorded 2 million trips in two months after GET’s beta launch in the Thai capital.

“GET is growing rapidly, but this is only the beginning as ride-hailing and online food delivery penetration is still small compared to the market opportunity,” said GET CEO Pinya Nittayakasetwat.

Through the partnership with SCB, GET users can top up their GET PAY credits via the SCB digital banking app. GET’s e-wallet service was launched in Thailand in beta in April.

“The GOJEK vision and ecosystem model has proven to be successful at creating more efficiencies for consumers and income earning opportunities for drivers and service providers across multiple industries in the region. The partnership with SCB shows continued confidence in our business strategy across markets as we aim to further scale our model and enhance operations in Thailand and elsewhere,” said GOJEK international head Andrew Lee.

SCB said the investment in GOJEK will help Thailand’s oldest homegrown lender to achieve its ultimate goal of becoming “the most admired bank” in the market.

“SCB’s strategy focuses on developing competitive advantages to grow beyond the new normal. We see that the strategy can be achieved through digital lending in retail, SSME and wealth management segments as well as through the transformation of business models. The investment in GOJEK is one example of such a strategic decision,” said the bank’s president Arak Sutivong.

SCB is not the first Thai financial institution to have invested in a regional ride-hailing unicorn. KASIKORNBANK had also invested $50 million in Grab, although that investment was in the local unit and not the holding company. The two companies are now working to roll out a co-branded digital wallet.

In GOJEK’s home ground, the ride-hailing major recently established a collaboration with state-backed e-wallet platform LinkAja, which was viewed as a potential rival to GOJEK’s Go-Pay and Grab-backed OVO.

It has been an eventful week for the Indonesian startup. It announced an undisclosed investment from Mitsubishi companies this Monday, right after Grab’s undisclosed round from London credit firm Experian last Friday. A week before that, Grab had bagged $300 million from Invesco.

Although no financial details of the recent funding rounds were disclosed, an industry source had told DealStreetAsia that GOJEK has gathered about $1.6 billion for its ongoing Series F round prior to the capital infusion by SCB.

The source added that GOJEK is targeting to close the round at over $3 billion while Grab is working on a mega $6.5 billion fundraising round. The latter has secured more than $4.5 billion for its ongoing Series H round, including a $1.46-billion funding from SoftBank Vision Fund.

GOJEK has earlier said that it plans to invest the Series F funds across transport, food delivery, logistics, mobile payments, and merchant services businesses. It also plans to use proceeds to accelerate its market expansion across Southeast Asia, a market which has been dominated by the heavily-funded Grab.

The additional capital could also see GOJEK extend its acquisition spree, which has seen it buy 12 Asian tech companies since 2016 to expand its range of services and ramp up its engineering capabilities. The company has also invested in numerous startups, with the latest being Indian cloud kitchen startup Rebel Foods.

Over the past year, GOJEK has been expanding aggressively into three new regional markets – Vietnam, Singapore and Thailand. It is yet to enter the Philippines as its plans to foray into the market hit a roadblock early this year due to foreign ownership regulations. It has also expressed interest in extending its services to Malaysia, Myanmar and Cambodia this year.