Nadiem Makarim "Gojek" Named as Straits Times' Asian of the Year
When Mr Nadiem Makarim returned to Jakarta after graduating from Harvard in 2011, he took motorcycle-taxis to get around the city but found them unreliable.
Still, Indonesia's biggest headaches - inadequate infrastructure and massive traffic jams - turned out to be big opportunities for him.
The 32-year-old, who has a master's degree in business administration from Harvard Business School, was born in Singapore. He has had a hand in several tech firms, including online retailer Zalora Indonesia, where he was managing director.
He had the idea of creating his own network of "ojeks" - as these two-wheeled cabs are known locally - and allowing commuters to book them with a smartphone app. With borrowed money as well as his own savings totalling US$100,000 (S$142,000), he launched the Go-Jek ride-hailing app in January last year with a pool of 700 motorbike riders.
In barely two years, the start-up is already going places, valued at more than US$1.4 billion and boasting the country's largest network of motorcycle-taxis, with more than 250,000 riders in 15 cities.
To go one up over direct rivals Uber and Grab, which also operate motorbike cabs, it has tied up with more than 35,000 food merchants and 2,500 service providers to provide delivery services for food, groceries and even medicine.
Go-Jek has "evolved into a much bigger animal", said Mr Nadiem, the company's founder and chief executive."Go-Jek is a perfect fit for Indonesia."
Source : Straits Times