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Signs Of A Serious Startup Boom In Indonesia

Ticket delivery via Go-Jek
Ticket delivery via Go-Jek

JAKARTA — A deal between Indonesia's leading lender and an Uber-like moto-taxi application is the latest in a string of partnerhips that are making Indonesia a veritable hotspot for startup ventures in Asia.

The initiative, between Bank Mandiri and the Jakarta-based company Go-Jek, will allow customers to store credit on the app by handling payments through the motorcycle drivers, the English-language daily Jakarta Post reports. Mandiri will also expand access to financial services for drivers and customers.

Local technology firms like Go-Jek have achieved rapid success and contributed to a competitive local market, with international rivals like Uber and Malaysia-based Grab Taxi unable to dominate. They are increasingly gaining government support and private investment. Mandiri's venture capital unit, for one, has committed to spending $37.5 million on developing financial technology services.

Other national banks such as CIMB Niaga are also planning to work with Go-Jek and expand involvement in local startups, according to the Jakarta-based newspaper Kompas. While Go-Jek competes with larger firms like Uber, Grab, and Blue Bird (the leading Indonesian taxi company), smaller competitors are also shaking up the ride-hailing industry.

TeknoJek is a motorcycle taxi ride-hailing app similar to Go-Jek. The Jakarta Post writes that its success comes in part from employing innovative tools such as multi-level marketing, with the company providing additional income to drivers who refer customers and other drivers to the company.

Other Indonesian startups such as Tokopedia, an online marketplace, and Traveloka, a travel booking site, are gaining popularity as well and contributing to the country's increasing reputation as a startup hub.

Go-Jek received $500 million in funding this week from investors, and with Indonesian banks also ramping up investment in local tech firms, other startups will look to benefit and expand. If their success continues, Jakarta may well be on its way to becoming the Silicon Valley of Southeast Asia.

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Photo shot through a cracked window showing people waiting at the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt.

People waiting at the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt.

Nikolai Kozhanov


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