In 2016, a covert meeting took place in Jakarta, Indonesia. Go-Jek CEO Nadiem Makarim, Grab CEO Anthony Tan and one of then-Uber CEO Travis Kalanick’s highest-ranking lieutenants in Southeast Asia convened to divide Indonesia’s mobility pie amongst themselves. The country was understandably high-priority for all three companies—it’s Southeast Asia’s largest economy, with a population of 260 million.
At the time, local taxi groups were violently protesting the rise of ride-hailing platforms, which they believed were ruining their livelihood. In crisis, it was time to pull together. It helped that Makarim and Tan were on good terms, having known each other from their student days in Harvard, and, indeed, the meeting was fruitful.
Grab & Go
Go-Jek and Grab are turning Southeast Asia’s startup ecosystem tribal
If you thought Uber’s exit from SE Asia marked the end of the region’s ride-hailing battle, think again. Post-Uber, Grab and Go-Jek are locked in a battle that has parallels with the way Tencent and Alibaba dominate China’s tech scene
Back in 2016, Uber, Go-Jek and Grab executives met to divide Indonesia’s mobility pie amongst themselves
Cut to 2019, Uber has left the region and Grab is at war with Go-Jek
The battle has moved beyond mobility and Indonesia—it is now for the digital economy of SE Asia
As Grab and Go-Jek seek super app status, it has led to a flurry of deals and partnerships, including with the likes of OYO and BookMyShow