Over the past four years, sovereign investors have stumped up nearly US$2 billion in Indonesian startups, the majority funded by Singapore’s GIC and Temasek.
Indonesian e-commerce startup GoTo is set to go global, thanks to early backers such as Singapore’s GIC and Temasek. The company was formed in May 2021 from the merger of Gojek (a super app handling deliveries, e-payments and video streaming) and Tokopedia (an e-commerce platform similar to the original Alibaba), which received backing from GIC and Temasek. GoTo also had the support of the SoftBank Vision Fund 1, in which Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) and ADIA were major investors.
The super-startup is a leap forward in Indonesia’s economy, leveraging the country’s growing digital infrastructure to democratize e-commerce. With Indonesia’s e-commerce market expected to reach US$83 billion by 2025, GoTo has established an early and sizable share of the market with Tokopedia serving 12 million merchants while Gojek is used as a platform for independent SMEs. Gojek’s GoPay system has been integrated into Tokopedia’s checkout, a synergy that has mutually reinforced both parts of the GoTo group.
GoTo’s IPO raised US$1.1 billion, helped along by a buoyant local bourse. Altogether, GoTo raised US$9 billion in funding from an array of institutional investors ahead of the listing of the 4% stake. The interest in the tech startup demonstrated confidence in Indonesia’s surging digital economy.
Currently valued at US$174 billion, Google, Temasek, and Bain project the company to be worth US$1 trillion in 2030 – provided it keeps innovating and maintaining its lead, and advancing into other Southeast Asian markets. If it keeps up this pace, Singapore’s state investors will have gained significant rewards by being early backers.
GoTo’s IPO came in the wake of the listing of another Indonesian e-commerce giant Bukalapak, which listed in August 2021, raising US$1.5 billion in Indonesia's biggest IPO, valuing it at US$6 billion. GIC had backed the startup in late stage rounds. Bukalapak also provides a warning of the risks of emerging market startups. The company has seen its stock price slashed by more than two-thirds since listing after it reported a US$3.6 billion annual loss.
GIC and Temasek – often seen as trailblazers by their peers in the sovereign investor universe – have not stopped with GoTo, but have sustained their venture capital strategy. In May, GIC led a US$80 million Series C round for Indonesian digital investment platform Bibit.
In July, Temasek unit Heliconia supported US$25 million investment led by Carousell Group to acquire Laku6, an Indonesian electronics recommerce platform. The acquisition aimed to serve the rapidly growing market for preowned phones and support sustainability in electronics and came as the company continued to expand its secondhand business across Southeast Asia.
In April, Temasek participated in a US$50 million Series B funding round for logistics startup Waresix. The startup provides logistics technology for two main solutions, related to transportation and warehouse management. Temasek’s Vertex Ventures also participated in a US$14 million seed round for Pintarnya, one-stop digital platform for blue-collar workers to find employment opportunities in Indonesia.
Singaporean investors are looking beyond tech and logistics. In January, Indonesia-based eFishery announced it had raised US$90 million in a Series C round, led by Temasek to fund its scaling up of aquaculture into other markets. EFishery’s products include software like eFarm, which lets shrimp farmers monitor their operations, and eFisheryKu, which does the same for fish farmers. Such developments support Singapore’s bid to bolster agtech in a bid to improve the self-sufficiency of the island economy.