Private equity heavyweights KKR and Warburg Pincus are reportedly considering an investment in the Indonesian motorbike-hailing app Go-Jek. The round could raise $400 million and would value the company at roughly $1.2 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal. It’s relatively uncharted territory for PE firms—until now, the ridesharing and ride-hailing markets have largely been the domain of VCs, with The Carlyle Group's recent acquisition of European car service Addison Lee serving as one notable exception.
If KKR and Warburg Pincus buck the trend, though, they would have Jakarta’s sprawl on their side. Indonesia is home to a population of 250 million people and its capital, located on the island of Java, has over 10 million people with a metropolitan area of some 30 million. And Go-Jek is ideally positioned to take advantage of that density: In 2014, the Indonesian Automotive Industry Association reported a national ratio of motorbikes & scooters to cars of 10 to one, according to the WSJ.
Go-Jek launched its app in 2015 and works with a reported 200,000 drivers. The app’s users can do much more than just hail an ojek (as motorcycle taxis are known in Jakarta), with other offerings such as on-demand groceries, cleaning services and door-to-door masseuses. Go-Jek has also introduced a car-hailing service and is reportedly in the process of moving to a cash-free payment system, a move in line with rivals such as Uber and Grab.
Go-Jek’s backing has thus far come from big VC outfits, including Sequoia, NSI Ventures—a component of Singapore’s Northstar Group, which is itself backed by TPG—and DST Global, Russian billionaire Yuri Milner’s firm that provided early financing to both Facebook and Twitter.