Another billion for Go-Jek
The Indonesian ride-hailer closed successfully its latest funding round, totalling just above USD 1 billion of additional capital; the company is now valued at a staggering USD 10 billion.
New player, new game
Most of the money came from the usual suspects: Google, Tencent and JD.com. The surprise this time around came from Mitsubishi Corp. This is not the car manufacturer, but a trading house that traditionally invests in logistics and convenience stores. The exact amount of Mitsubishi Corp’s investment is unknown, but Nikkei (reliable online news site) talks about 10s of millions of dollars.
The South-East Asian tech start-ups have been drawing investors’ attention for a couple of years now and investments are going up dramatically (USD 5.7 billion in 2016 to USD 11 billion in 2017). About 70% of this money however only goes to 5 unicorns: Grab, Go-Jek, Lazada (Singaporean Amazon), Tokopedia (e-commerce) and Traveloka (online travel agency).
Go-Jek announced in 2018 its intention to expand regionally, or put in other words, to compete with GRAB. This is music to the ears of Google and Tencent, who are using Go-Jek as a vehicle to expand their reach in South-East Asia and steal market share from Microsoft, SoftaBank and Temasek, supporting GRAB.
The war of the titans has begun. It’s unlikely that either GRAB or Go-Jek will make a go and try to acquire the other one; the first part of the war is about geographical expansion and development of the product line into lifestyle solutions (digital wallet and others). The main countries at stake will probably be those where GRAB is weakest or is meeting resistance: Vietnam is on the list and so is Singapore, GRAB’s home country. It will be a tough battle for Go-Jek, with little experience and many mistakes to make.