App for Easy Riding
The reputation of Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, as one of the world’s most congested cities is typically not an advantage with investors. However, one company has become the country’s most visible technology success with an app that relieves some of the pain of its maddening traffic.
The ride-hailing apps that are part of daily life from New York to New Delhi are usually used to summon cars. Jakarta, the world’s sixth-largest urban sprawl and by some measures the most car-clogged, needed something new.
In hindsight, the Go-Jek mobile app for hailing rides on motorcycles was a no-brainer. But its sudden success took even its founder by surprise. The app’s name is a play on ojek, the Indonesian word for freelance motorcycle taxis, now a rare sight in Jakarta after many drivers joined Go-Jek’s green-jacketed, GPS-coordinated ranks. Go-Jek also has introduced a slew of additional services to the app, including delivering food, groceries, cleaners, massage therapists and beauticians to homes.
“We really had no idea it would be adopted so widely and so quickly,” said Nadiem Makarim, who admits the company struggled to keep pace when tens of thousands began downloading the app. Makarim believes Jakarta’s carmageddon had arrived at a “pain point” of a huge unmet demand for a solution. The Associated Press