Tokopedia founder William Tanuwijaya. (Photo Courtesy of Tokopedia)

Tokopedia Founder Named 2021 Businessperson of the Year

NOVEMBER 23, 2021

Jakarta. Business magazine Fortune Indonesia recently named William Tanuwijaya, the founder of the Indonesian tech company Tokopedia, as 2021 businessperson of the year.

Fortune Indonesia has listed 20 business people —ranging from chief executive officers to founders— whose companies achieved a stellar performance throughout 2020 and in the first semester of 2021.  Fortune Indonesia’s list also recognizes their transformative leadership, effective good corporate governance (GCG), and adaptive corporate action. 


Tokopedia’s William is among one of the names on Fortune Indonesia’s 2021 businessperson of the year list.

In its article, Fortune Indonesia wrote that William came from a more humble background compared to other startup founders. 

Born in Pematangsiantar, William went to Jakarta to pursue his study in information technology at Bina Nusantara University. His father, however, fell sick in William’s second year at university, forcing him to work part-time at an internet cafe. This eventually fostered his passion for the internet.

It was in 2009 when William along with Leontinus Alpha Edison founded Tokopedia. It took the two a year to find its early investors, including the Jakarta-based East Ventures. Interestingly, Tokopedia was also the first entity in East Ventures’ portfolio, according to Fortune Indonesia.

Other investors eventually came to Tokopedia’s way, as the online marketplace grew into what is now known as one of Indonesia’s tech giants. Earlier this year, Tokopedia merged with ride-hailing giant Gojek, creating the GoTo Group. 

“If you want to go fast, you go alone. If you want to go far, you go together,” William told Fortune Indonesia in an interview.

According to Fortune Indonesia, GoTo’s gross transaction value (GTV) stood at $22 billion in 2020, with over 1.8 billion transactions processed. 

As of December 2020, GoTo has more than 2 million driver-partners and 11 million merchants in its ecosystem. The group also plans to make an initial public offering debut soon. 

Once it takes place, it will certainly become Indonesia’s largest initial public offering, Fortune Indonesia wrote.