2018 Start-Up Success Stories: Small Companies’ Big Impact

2018 was witnessed as an era of revolution for startup companies around the world. With advances in technology and greater accessibility, many young entrepreneurs have dared to take risks and put their creative ideas into action. Not only giant companies that dominate the business scene, but also small companies with unique and innovative concepts that have managed to steal the show.

Four Indonesian startup companies have achieved unicorn status or have a valuation of over USD 1 billion. The four are Go-Jek, Traveloka, Tokopedia and Bukalapak. This condition made the four Indonesian start-up bosses for the first time included in the Globe Asia version of the 150 richest people in Indonesia, namely Ferry Unardi (Traveloka), William Tanuwijaya (Tokopedia), Achmad Zaky (Bukalapak), and Nadiem Makarim (Go-Jek).

This 30-year-old man is the boss of Traveloka, a travel agency platform. By occupying the position of the 146th richest person in Indonesia, he has a wealth of USD 145 million or around IDR 2 trillion. Ferry founded Traveloka with his two colleagues in 2012.

This online ticket sales service is the third Indonesian startup to have a unicorn title. It took at least 5 years for Traveloka to achieve unicorn status, after successfully securing an investment of USD 500 million from the world’s leading online travel company Expedia Inc, East Ventures, Hillhouse Capital Group,, and Sequoia Capital in July 2017. Ferry assesses that the investment led by Expedia will deepen the partnership that has existed so far in providing hotel rooms.

In 2018, Traveloka also showed its ambition and acumen in making strategic acquisitions. One of the most striking acquisitions was when they acquired Pegipegi, a leading hotel and train ticket booking company in Indonesia. This step helps Traveloka to further strengthen its position as the market leader in the online travel industry in Indonesia

The second company is the founder of Tokopedia. William, who is now 36 years old, has succeeded in bringing success to the Tokopedia platform he built in 2009. With a wealth of USD 130 million or around Rp. 1.8 trillion, he is in the 148th position of the richest people in Indonesia. Tokopedia is the second startup from Indonesia to become a unicorn.

The online marketplace service even received an injection of fresh funds from a consortium led by Alibaba amounting to USD 1.1 billion in August 2017. The injection of funds from the Chinese giant company has made Wiliam a celebrity in Indonesia’s digital industry. Tokopedia also pinned the title of unicorn after 6 years of existence. Tokopedia’s vision is to empower millions of small and medium enterprises in Indonesia, which has helped drive the company’s rapid growth.

The third is the founder of Bukalapak. This 31-year-old man has a net worth of USD 105 million or around IDR 1.5 trillion. This made the Bukalapak boss ranked 149th as the richest person in Indonesia. Bukalapak was built by Zaky in 2010, with the aim of empowering Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). This online marketplace service company is the fourth Indonesian startup to hold unicorn status. Looking at its journey, it took Bukalapak 7 years from its founding to become a company with a valuation of over USD 1 billion.

The fourth is the founder of Gojek. Nadiem is the person behind the success of the online transportation service provider platform, Go-Jek. He is recorded as having assets worth USD 100 million or around IDR 1.4 trillion at the age of 33. Of course, making him in the position of the 150 richest people in Indonesia.

When Gojek was founded in 2010 by Nadiem Makarim, his mission and vision was to provide innovative and sustainable transportation solutions for Indonesian people. The company’s founders have a strong determination to solve complex transportation problems in big cities, and empower driver-partners to improve their economic well-being.

The success of these companies is underpinned by a number of factors, including success as a startup, funding and investment, regional expansion, product and service innovation, and careful financial management. This extraordinary fortune marks an impressive achievement for all of the above entrepreneurs and is the result of hard work and determination in achieving the company’s goals.