Getting into the coveted club of Unicorns is every entrepreneur’s dream. However, it is no mean task to build a billion-dollar company; it takes many years of investments, efforts and hard work to reach the magic number.

In Southeast Asia, there are more than 10 unicorns and decacorns like Grab, Gojek, Sea Group, Lazada, Traveloka, Bukalapak, OVO and Tokopedia. Many more are on track to become billion-dollar companies. For example, Ninja Van, Carousell, and Zilingo.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been boon for some of these tech giants whose business skyrocketed, but for some others, it was proved disastrous. While it boosted the valuation of some of these unicorns, the pandemic slowed down the growth of some others.

Below is the list of the four Unicorns that have made it to ‘e27 Luminaries‘.


Grab doesn’t need an introduction. It is the quintessential poster boy of the region’s startup ecosystem.

Founded in 2012 by Anthony Tan and Tan Hooi Ling, Grab was started as ride-hailing company in Malaysia. In order to grow and scale faster, the company later moved its headquarters to Singapore. There was no looking back since., and it scaled many summits and became the market leader in many verticals.

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Today, Grab is a super-app platform in Southeast Asia, providing everyday services that matter to consumers. The app provides users access to millions of drivers, merchants, and agents.

Grab offers a wide range of on-demand services in the region, including mobility, food, package and grocery delivery services, mobile payments, and financial services across 398 cities in eight countries.

In April, Grab announced its plans to go public through a SPAC merger with Altimeter Growth Corp., in a deal that values the company at US$39.6 billion, the largest blank-check merger to date.

Over its nine year of existence, Grab has raised US$12.1 billion in funding from 53 investors across 34 rounds. It has also snapped up three companies, namely Bento, iKaaZ and Kudo.

The tech behemoth is currently valued over US$40 billion.


Gojek recently hit the headlines when it made official its US$18-billion merger with Tokopedia to form GoTo Group. One of the most valuable startups and a darling of foreign and domestic VCs, Gojek was started as two-wheeler hailing platform in its home country Indonesia.

The company’s rise to a billion-dollar company has been steady. On its journey to the top, it conquered many heights and ventured into new verticals and introduced innovative features.

Gojek aims to be a super-app, along the lines of Grab, by offering multiple service across verticals, such as ride-hailing, finance, e-commerce, and health, among many others.

Founded in 2010 by Kevin Aluwi, Michaelangelo Moran, and Nadiem Makarim (who later quit to become a Minister in Indonesia), Gojek has thus far raised US$53 billion from 32 investors across 13 rounds, and has made 13 acquisitions.

The tech behemoth is currently valued US$10 billion.


Established in 2009, Tokopedia is an online marketplace that intends to help individuals and business owners to open and manage their own online stores.

Its platform helps users build and manage online stores and a single e-commerce destination for customers. The firm offers a wide range of items — from fashion accessories, beauty and health aids, electronic equipment, food, beverages, to toys, enabling individuals and businesses to open and maintain their stores for free.

Founded by Herman Widjaja, Leontinus Alpha Edison, Melissa Siska Juminto, William Tanuwijaya, Tokopedia has raked in nearly US$2.8 billion from 11 investors across multiple rounds since its inception.

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Alibaba, EV Growth, Sequoia India, SoftBank and CyberAgent are among its backers. As per multiple reports, the tech giant is valued between US$8 billion and US$10 billion.


One of Indonesia’s largest payments and financial technology company, OVO is a mobile app payment system. It provides online payments, rewards and financial services, which are available on 115 million smart devices in more than 300 cities across the archipelago.

It has thousands of merchants all across Indonesia in various categories, including F&B, fashion, beauty, entertainment, transportation, and travel.

The company became Indonesia’s fifth unicorn in 2019.

The company is backed by SoftBank, Lippo and Grab, and last valued at about US$2.9 billion. It has also made two acquisitions.

Last year, there was a report that OVO was in talks for a merger with rival Dana.

Photo by Marco Secchi on Unsplash


The post A horse of another colour: Meet the 4 unicorns from e27 Luminaries appeared first on e27.

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