Year Ahead Event

Go-Jek CEO Makarim Says He's Aiming for IPO in Next Few Years

  • CEO says his 2018 goal is to expand digital wallet service
  • Firm will sign up partners to roll out service in Indonesia
Go-Jek CEO Nadiem Makarim discusses Go-Pay and the competition in Indonesia.

Go-Jek, Indonesia’s first billion-dollar tech startup, has a ‘set plan’ to become a listed company, Chief Executive Officer Nadiem Makarim said.

“We are definitely going to IPO,” Makarim said at Bloomberg’s Year Ahead Asia Conference in Jakarta Wednesday. The initial public offering is expected “hopefully within the next few years,” he said.

Nadiem Makarim at the Bloomberg Year Ahead Asia Conference in Jakarta on Dec. 6.

Photographer: Graham Crouch/Bloomberg

Jakarta-based Go-Jek, backed by investors including KKR & Co. and Warburg Pincus LLC, will make the expansion of its digital-payment service Go-Pay in 2018 a top priority, he said. The firm has already moved from its roots as a source of cheap motorcycle rides to become Indonesia’s largest food-delivery business.

Currently, Go-Jek customers use Go-Pay to pay for a wide range of services that Go-Jek offers on its mobile app. Makarim’s goal is to let his customers to pay for coffee, groceries, tickets and other things outside the realms of Go-Jek’s services.

“2018 will be the year of Go-Pay,” he said, 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.

While there’s plenty of competition in digital payment services, including one by its archival Grab, Makarim said Go-Jek is one of the few technology companies that have secured a so-called e-money license, which lets companies provide digital wallet services in Indonesia. 

Indonesia is the world’s fourth most-populous country with young, tech-savvy citizens raised on smartphones and apps. Yet it has the second highest dependency on cash in the world after India, according to the World Bank.

Makarim said his aim is to “see a whole bunch of Indonesians walking around, taking Go-Jek rides around the city without even thinking about whether they have their wallet or not.”

“The greatest risk is not having enough resources to execute our ambition,” he said. “It used to be competition, but not any more.”

Full Coverage of Bloomberg's Year Ahead Asia Conference in Jakarta 

Separately, he played down the impact of SoftBank Group Corp.’s planned investment in rival Uber Technologies Inc.

“I am not worried at all,” he said. “Uber has been sidelined in Indonesia and much of Southeast Asia. We learned early on with Grab it’s not about who has the most money; it’s about who innovates faster.”

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