Indonesia's ride-hailing firm Gojek joins 'Decacorn' ranks with US$10b valuation

The accolade from CB Insights makes the company the second in S-E Asia to join the coveted club after rival Grab

Jakarta

INDONESIAN ride-hailing service Gojek's value was estimated at US$10 billion by a US market intelligence company, putting it in the ranks of startups called decacorns.

New York-based CB Insights has listed Gojek among 19 decacorns around the world, along with the likes of Uber Technologies Inc, according to the Jakarta Post newspaper. That would make Gojek Indonesia's first startup to join the US$10 billion market-valuation club, and the second in South-east Asia after rival ride-hailing service Grab.

Gojek's valuation reflects the confidence investors have that the company will continue to grow, Nila Marita, its chief of corporate affairs, said, without confirming details of its value.

An initial public offering remains "a long-term aim for Gojek but it is not in our immediate future", she said in a text message to Bloomberg. "Our focus is on growing the business and serving our users and partners in the countries we operate in." Indonesian Communications Minister Rudiantara, who like many Indonesians uses only one name, said that while news of Gojek reaching decacorn status hasn't been confirmed and is based only on the CB Insights report, it's a big achievement. "It is indeed a significant milestone not only for Indonesia but also for the region," he said in a text message.

A unicorn is a closely-held startup valued at more than US$1 billion, while decacorn uses the Greek word for "ten".

Gojek and Grab are battling for supremacy in the South-east Asian market after Uber pulled out of the region last year. Grab recently raised about US$1.5 billion from SoftBank Group Corp's Vision Fund, bankrolling its effort to expand into new services across the region. That means it's received about US$4.5 billion from investors over the past year.

Gojek has presented a challenge for Grab, with the Jakarta-based startup marching into Grab's home market of Singapore as well as Vietnam and Thailand. Gojek chief executive officer Nadiem Makarim and Grab founder Anthony Tan were classmates at Harvard Business School.

South-east Asia's two most valuable startups have been looking to rapidly expand in everything from mobile payments to food delivery. Gojek raised more than US$1 billion in a continuing funding round from a clutch of Internet giants, including Google, JD.com Inc and Tencent Holdings Ltd, a person with knowledge of the financing said in January. Both companies are using the proceeds to shore up their positions in Indonesia and expand around the region, while merging payments with ride-sharing and food delivery to create so-called super apps. BLOOMBERG