Gojek Cofounder Nadiem Makarim Resigns, Hitches a Ride to Indonesian Parliament To join President Jokowi's cabinet for his second term

By Aparajita Saxena

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Gojek website

Indonesia President Joko Widodo has tapped the chief executive officer of Gojek - the country's biggest startup - Nadiem Makarim, for a position in his new cabinet.

President Jokowi, as he's more commonly known, had previously stated his preference to include more millenials and professionals in his cabinet for the second-term, and the move to rope in Makarim is largely seen as a vote of confidence in internet startups in the country.

Makarim, who had founded the $10-billion startup nine years ago, will resign immediately to take up the unnamed position with the Indonesia government, he told reporters on Monday. Gojek said Andre Soelistyo, president of the company, will take the helm as co-CEO, along with co-founder Kevin Aluwi.

"Since the beginning, my mission in Gojek has been to display Indonesia on the world's stage," Makarim said on Monday, adding his decision to quit Gojek for a position with the government was "a continuation of that mission, but this is certainly for the state and within a bigger scale."

For Gojek, it will be business as usual, and the company, in an emailed statement to Entrepreneur, said it will outline its next steps in the coming days.

Gojek has raised a total of $3.1 billion in over 12 rounds of funding from investors including VIsa, MUFJ, Google, and Tencent Holdings. Their latest fundraising round, series F, was in July 2019.

Internet penetration in Southeast Asia has skyrocketed over the last decade, and the e-economy in the region is expected to hit $100 billion by 2025, a recent study showed. Internet-based companies, especially "superapps" have gained popularity in the region as a one-stop shop for all on-demand needs of consumers. Both Gojek, and its Singapore rival Grab, have outlined plans to enter new Asian markets. Gojek last year expanded into Vietnam, while Grab has been raising funds to break into newer markets.

Aparajita Saxena

Former Deputy Associate Editor, Asia Pacific

Aparajita is Former Deputy Associate Editor for Entrepreneur Asia Pacific. She joined Entrepreneur after nearly five years with Reuters, where she chased the Asian and U.S. finance markets.

At Entrepreneur Asia Pacific, she wrote about trends in the Asia Pacific startup ecosystem. She also loves to look for problems startups face in their day-to-day and tries to present ways to deal with those issues via her stories, with inputs from other startups that may have once been in that boat.

Outside of work, she likes spending her time reading books (fiction/non-fiction/back of a shampoo bottle), chasing her two dogs around the house, exploring new wines, solo-travelling, laughing at memes, and losing online multiplayer battle royale games.


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