How Tanuwijaya proved his doubters wrong to build Indonesia’s Alibaba. Tokopedia set to become nation’s first Unicorn

William Tanuwijaya
Photographer: Dimas Ardian/Bloomberg

William Tanuwijaya was helping small companies build websites when he began shopping an idea for Indonesia’s first Internet shopping hub. It took 11 pitches to get funding, but his startup is now verging on becoming the nation’s first unicorn.

The son of a factory worker created Tokopedia in 2009 just as the economy and Internet usage mushroomed in the world’s fourth-most populous country. A then-record $100 million funding round that included SoftBank Group Corp. and Sequoia Capital in 2014 announced the nation’s coming-of-age as a bona fide destination for technology investment.

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