By Lee Kah Whye
Singapore, July 22 (ANI): Last week, Indonesian ride-hailing firm Go-Jek announced that they received an investment from credit card issuer Visa which observers say represents its first big step into the international payments market.
The two companies will be looking to provide consumers with more options for digital, cashless payments across Southeast Asia.
The statement comes over a week after Go-Jek said it secured investment from Thailand's Siam Commercial Bank, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation and Mitsubishi Corporation, and another from Mitsubishi UFJ Lease & Finance, as part of its ongoing series F funding round. The terms of these deals, as is the one with Visa, are undisclosed.
Mitsubishi Corporation is an existing Go-Jek investor, having participated in the first phase of its Series F round, which raised over USD one billion when it closed in February. That round valued the company at USD 10 billion, Bloomberg reported while quoting CB Insights.
Other investors in Go-Jek include Google, China's JD.com and Tencent, and Singapore sovereign wealth fund Temasek Holdings.
The Go-Jek and Visa tie-up puts it into a head-to-head contest with its more established regional rival and fellow unicorn, Grab. Grab just announced a partnership with Mastercard in October 2018 to issue prepaid cards tailored for its users in Southeast Asia. Touting it as one of the first e-wallets at scale from Southeast Asia to be accepted worldwide, Grab customers can top up their card in cash to spend at any merchant which accepts Mastercard around the world, online or offline.
Go-Jek and Singapore-based Grab, are two of many tech start-ups which are banking on technology to introduce financial services and digital payments to the over 640 million people in Southeast Asia, many of whom do not have bank accounts and are underserved by financial institutions.
Go-Jek's Go-Pay is Indonesia's fourth-largest e-wallet service, behind the country's largest lenders; Bank Mandiri's e-Money, Bank Central Asia's Flazz, and state-owned telecom firm Telkomsel's T-Cash. It has a market share of about a third of overall e-wallet transactions in Indonesia.
Earlier in this month (July), various reports said that that Go-Jek had invested USD five million into Mumbai's cloud kitchen startup Rebel Foods as part of Rebel's series D funding. A cloud kitchen provides delivery-only restaurants and food brands with a common cooking facility which do not operate physical restaurants with seating. It owns such brands such as Faasos, Behrouz Biryani, Mandarin Oak, Lunch Box and Oven Story.
Rebel Foods raised about USD 15.8 million earlier this year in a financing tranche led by Sequoia Capital India.
Rebel Foods, which claims to be the world's largest cloud kitchen chain, was started as Faasos Food Services Pvt. Ltd. in 2011 by Jaydeep Barman and Kallol Banerjee. It was rebranded in October last year. They plan to have 10,000 virtual restaurants in about 1,000 kitchens in the next five years.
The investment in Rebel Foods is not Go-Jek's first investment in India. It has been increasing its presence in India for some time.
The Indonesian company also has a stake in the domestic mobile gaming company, Mobile Premier League (MPL), obtained together with Sequoia India and Times Internet in a funding round which raised USD 35.5 million in April this year.
Go-Jek also acquired Bengaluru-based recruitment platform AirCTO in June this year with an aim to hire talent to boost its technology capabilities and support its "super app" strategy. AirCTO uses artificial intelligence tools to accelerate recruitment. At that time, it also announced that it has opened an office in Gurugram and aimed to hire over 100 people to expand operations there.
In 2016, Go-Jek announced the acquisition of two Indian engineering startups C42 Engineering and CodeIgnition and establishment of a development centre in Bengaluru. It also acquired Leftshift Technologies, a mobile application developer based in Pune and Bengaluru-based Pianta, a home healthcare service startup which helps book appointments with healthcare providers which provide home visits for physiotherapy, nursing and lab sample collection.
Go-Jek was first launched in 2010 with 20 motorbike riders. Currently, its fleet exceeds one million drivers and it offers almost 20 app-based on-demand services. Other than digital payments and ride-hailing, it offers online services from food to grocery delivery, message services, courier services, online ticketing services, online medicine delivery, hairstyling services, auto-maintenance, professional house cleaning, just to name a few.
Besides its home base -- Indonesia -- and India, Go-Jek operates in Singapore, in Vietnam as Go-Viet and Thailand as Get. Malaysia, Myanmar and Cambodia are reportedly next on the radar after the Philippines authority rejected its application for a license to operate a ride-hailing service earlier this year. (ANI)