Co-CEO of Gojek to Lead App Giant Following Merger With Tokopedia

Andre Soelistyo

Andre Soelistyo

According to people familiar with the matter, Gojek co-CEO Andre Soelistyo is expected to lead the Indonesian app giant that will be formed when the transportation and distribution business merges with e-commerce company PT Tokopedia.

Indonesia’s two most valuable startups are forming a holding company called GoTo, with Gojek shareholders owning 58 percent and Tokopedia owners owning the remainder, according to the people, who requested anonymity due to the nature of the details. They mentioned that Patrick Cao, president of Tokopedia, would maintain the title in the new organization.

By selecting Soelistyo, the combined company, which is aiming for a $40 billion valuation, is betting on the ability of a former private equity investor to keep the business growing. Soelistyo, 37, has been instrumental in Gojek’s expansion into consumer services and in raising more than $5 billion from investors such as Google, Tencent Holdings Ltd., Astra International, KKR & Co., and Warburg Pincus.

According to the people, GoTo will have three business units: ride-hailing company Gojek; e-commerce subsidiary Tokopedia; and payments and financial services under the name Dompet Karya Anak Bangsa, or DKAB. The CEO of Tokopedia, William Tanuwijaya, will continue to lead the online shopping pioneer he created in 2009, while Gojek co-CEO Kevin Aluwi will continue to lead Gojek. They mentioned that Group CEO Soelistyo would lead the payments and financial services unit DKAB.

Gojek and Tokopedia representatives declined to comment.

Tokopedia and Gojek are nearing completion of a merger that will create the world’s fourth most populous country’s largest internet company. Their boards of directors and management teams have settled on the terms of the merger and are officially seeking shareholder approval, Bloomberg News reported this month. The transaction could close as early as this summer.

Soelistyo first became acquainted with Gojek while working at private equity company Northstar Group, which became the startup’s first institutional investor in its early stages.

Gojek was established in 2010 as a call center to facilitate courier deliveries in Jakarta by entrepreneur Nadiem Makarim. All was done manually: workers approached motorcycle riders one by one before someone approved an order. Makarim worked at other startups to supplement his income from the fledgling operation.

Makarim decided to create a mobile app in 2014 with the support of Northstar. When the service launched in early 2015, it was so successful that Gojek was unable to keep up with demand. Soelistyo joined Gojek as president the following year and has contributed to the company’s expansion into approximately 20 customer services, including telehealth and personal investment.

He was elected co-CEO with Aluwi in October 2019 after Makarim resigned from Gojek to accept a ministerial role in the Indonesian government.

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