JAKARTA – The founder of Indonesian tech start-up Gojek said on Monday he would step down as CEO of the company to be a part of President Joko Widodo’s new cabinet.
Addressing a televised news conference following a meeting with Widodo, Nadiem Makarim, 35, said it was a great honor to be a part of the Indonesian government.
Although, he did not reveal which ministry he was likely to lead, the local media speculated Makarim could head the new ministry of digital economy or education.
The entrepreneur said that at Gojek, a company founded in 2010 and now valued at more than $10 billion, his mission had always been to promote Indonesia on the international stage that would now continue at a higher scale.
Widodo, who was sworn in on Sunday following his resounding victory in the April presidential election, said he would announce members of his new cabinet in the coming days and that there would be new faces as well as people from different technical backgrounds in his government.
The entrepreneur completed his studies at the American universities of Brown and Harvard. In 2006, he returned to Indonesia and founded Gojek as a call center.
Makarim launched an Uber-equivalent app in Indonesia four years ago with a fleet of 600 bikers, and it now offers multiple services, from television to home delivery, and employs more than two million automobile drivers and bikers.
Its business model based on a “super application,” which is serves as an electronic wallet, massage service, messaging, among others, and has managed to revolutionize the way Indonesians avoid the endless jams in Jakarta and other cities in the archipelago.
Gojek has a presence in six Southeast Asian countries, a market of more than 600 million people of which 265 million live in Indonesia, is engaged in fierce competition with Singapore’s Grab, which has the same business model and has expanded to eight countries.
The Indonesian company has Google and Chinese technology multinational JD.COM and Tencent as investors, while Grab announced Japanese tech giant Softbank as a new investor in July.