[This article was updated at around 10:30pm on August 4 with information provided by KKR]
Of course they did.
In the same week Didi Chuxing acquired Uber China, and subsequently turned around and invested US$600 million into Grab (with help from Softbank), it was announced today that a global consortium of investment firms have made a US$550 million investment into Indonesia’s ride-hailing company Go-jek.
The round was led by KKR, Warburg Pincus, Farallon Capital and Capital Group Private Markets (all US-based firms). Previous investors participating are Sequoia India, Northstar Group, DST Global, NSI Ventures, Rakuten Ventures and Formation Group.
According to a Techcrunch article that broke the deal, today’s news would value the company at US$1.3 billion — officially putting Go-jek in the Southeast Asia Unicorn Club.
“GO-JEK is poised to build on its initial success to become the largest on-demand application of choice for all Indonesians and improve the daily lives of more than 200,000 motorcycle and car driver partners,” said Go-jek CEO Nadiem Makarim in an official statement.
The funding will be used to improve and scale up its on-demand services platform, a product which is Go-jek’s legitimate advantage regional rivals Uber and Grab.
Go-Jek has successfully in built a one-stop-shop multi-service platform in which — among others — its food delivery, package logistics, movie ticketing and cleaning services are all popular.
Despite forays into other services, Uber and Grab have not gained a similar traction outside of their core taxi and ride-sharing services in Southeast Asia.
“GO-JEK is unique in its ability to be the number-one service provider across almost all key categories and the company has a real opportunity to strengthen its position as a leading mobile platform in Indonesia,” said Terence Lee, Director at KKR Asia in a statement.
“This ingenuity is the result of the innovation, vision and execution of Nadiem and his high caliber team and we look forward to continuing to attract world-class talent to one of the world’s most dynamic tech companies”.
Go-jek plans to leverage the experience of its new investors in the telecommunications, media and technology (TMT) space.
The press release hinted at a potential regional move but did not explicitly state any intentions for expansion.
Go-jek’s mobile app has been downloaded over 20 million times and in June 2016 the platform facilitated over 20 million bookings (of various sorts). Makarim said it has over 200,000 riders and drivers, 35,000 food merchants and 3,000 service providers in the other on-demand features.
However, in Indonesia, there is always the looming threat of government action to restrict — or even shut down — companies like Go-jek. On August 1, the newly appointed Minister of Transportation, Budi Karya Semadi, summoned the ride-hailing companies to confirm their willingness to adhere by government regulations.
It truly has been an incredible week in the ride-sharing industry as every day has brought one game-changing announcement after another.
Despite being a China deal, the Didi-Uber merger in China does seem to be having a ripple effect across the region as the industry’s ‘big fish’ adjust to life without the Chinese taxi-app war.
Furthermore, as Grab and Didi have a significant financial tie-up, Go-jek was staring across the proverbial boxing ring at considerably well-financed competitors.
Now, it seems, all are on an even playing field.