An early iteration of the Gojek app. (JG Photo/Lidya Caroline)

Gojek to Stop 'Burning Money'


OCTOBER 22, 2019

Jakarta. Ride-hailing company Gojek is determined to end its "burning money" phase and move into a healthy and profitable business as it plans to go public in the near future.

"Gojek's founders want us to launch an initial public offering within the next three or four years," Michael Say, Gojek's vice president of corporate affairs, told Antara news agency on Monday.


Gojek subsidizes each driver Rp 50 ($0.003) per trip, a staggering amount given that the ride-hailing app processed 100 million transactions per month, he said.

The huge subsidies may come as a stumbling block for the company's IPO ambition.

"To allow us an IPO, our financial reports must be entirely in the green. It's impossible for us to keep burning money," Michael said during a visit to Semarang, Central Java.

Gojek needs a special approach in business because it has formed an ecosystem comprising partner drivers, merchants, customers and relevant government agencies, he said.

The Gojek app has now been downloaded more than 125 million times. The company operates in 207 cities and districts across Indonesia and involves at least 300,000 merchants.

It has also expanded its operations to neighboring Singapore, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand.

Aside from transporting people, the company's food delivery business, Gofood, is also growing at a strong pace, Michael said.

"From fried chicken delivery alone we recorded 2.1 million transactions last year, not to mention Gofood orders for martabak and other favorite delicacies," he said.

Twin Chief Executives

Gojek is undergoing a leadership transition after co-founder and chief executive Nadiem Makarim announced his resignation on Monday, for good reason: he was summoned by the State Palace and is now set to join President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's cabinet.

Gojek's corporate affairs chief Nila Marita said Nadiem will be succeeded by Gojek Group president Andre Soelistyo and co-founder Kevin Aluwi who will share responsibilities as co-chief executives.

She said Nadiem's appointment as a Jokowi minister is a source of pride for the company.

"We are very proud because a Gojek founder will be tasked with putting Indonesia forward on the global stage. Never before has a local startup founder been recognized and made an example for national development," Nila said in a statement.