Gojek bags $150m from Indonesian mobile operator Telkomsel

Indonesian superapp provider Gojek has bagged $150m from Telkomsel, the country’s state-owned mobile operator, as it adjusts to new business conditions brought about by Covid-19.

Both companies had been business partners for a while, with Telkomsel providing Gojek drivers with cheap data options, but this marks the first time the mobile operator will be making an investment into the “decacorn” — a private company valued at more than $10bn.

Both companies announced the investment on November 17.

Telkomsel is a joint venture between state-owned telecoms group Telkom Indonesia and Singapore’s Singtel. The mobile operator’s parent, Telkom, was reportedly close to investing in Gojek back in 2018, but the deal fell through when it failed to secure backing from top ministerial figures.

The latest investment is a further boost to Gojek, having received capital injections from Facebook and PayPal of the US in June. Gojek raised more than $3bn in its Series F round, which the two tech companies took part in.

Telkomsel joins a long list of Gojek investors that also includes Google and US private equity firm KKR but is one of only a few Indonesian companies to invest in the decacorn; other known Indonesian investors include local conglomerates Djarum and Astra.

This article is from Nikkei Asia, a global publication with a uniquely Asian perspective on politics, the economy, business and international affairs. Our own correspondents and outside commentators from around the world share their views on Asia, while our Asia300 section provides in-depth coverage of 300 of the biggest and fastest-growing listed companies from 11 economies outside Japan.

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As of mid-July, Gojek’s largest shareholder was Gamvest, an entity owned by Singapore state investor GIC. Google was the second-largest shareholder followed by KKR and China’s Tencent.

The superapp has seen its business disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, especially its ride-hailing service, and has been focusing on payments and food deliveries in a bid to weather the storm. It recently announced that “Gojek-branded services are all now generating positive margins on a product basis”, which it called “a significant milestone as it indicates a strong path to profitability”.

The additional investment from Telkomsel “puts us in an even better financial position as we look to navigate the years that lie ahead,” said Andre Soelistyo, co-CEO of Gojek.

Other Indonesian unicorns — start-ups valued at over $1bn — have been busy raising funds amid the pandemic. E-commerce platforms Tokopedia and Bukalapak were the recipients of US big tech companies’ capital, with the former bagging an investment from Google, while the latter received funds from Microsoft in November.

The travel booking unicorn Traveloka, meanwhile, raised $250m from international investors, including the Qatar Investment Authority.

A version of this article was first published by Nikkei Asia on November 17 2020. ©2020 Nikkei Inc. All rights reserved.

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