Ride tech is one of the few sectors where street traffic is just as valuable as web traffic. Jakarta has the world’s worst traffic conditions. For most, it’s a plague to be avoided. But for a select few firms, it represents an opportunity ripe for the picking.
At the end of May, Southeast Asian unicorn GrabTaxi opened up its motorcycle service GrabBike in Jakarta. GrabTaxi has US$340 million to play with and the launch made waves. As a courtesy from co-founder and CEO Anthony Tan, local commuters were able to enjoy free rides for nearly two weeks. GrabBike recorded 8,000 free rides during its first week in Jakarta.
However, as Indonesia’s transportation market represents one of the largest opportunities in Southeast Asia, GrabBike won’t be able to easily champion the scene without facing resistance. In Jakarta’s case, that resistance comes in the form of local competitor Go-Jek, the archipelago’s homegrown “Uber for motorcycles.” Go-Jek has been operating in the local market since 2011, and Jakarta residents can’t leave their apartments without spotting Go-Jek’s signature green jackets zipping through traffic.
But at such an early stage, it’s still anyone’s game. Neither Go-Jek nor GrabBike have the Indonesian market sewn up by any means. A boxing match is set to ensue between these two firms, so in no particular order of importance, here are a few comparison points on how the two contenders stack up.