Gojek uses data tools for insight into untapped customers

As Group, an on-demand multi-service startup from Indonesia, races to scale up its presence in Asean, data is a powerful tool for enabling insight into the needs of each market, says Feng Chen, a young executive in charge of the unicorn startup’s products for overseas markets.

Ms Chen is one of the founders of Get, a Thai operating unit of Gojek. The 28-year-old Australian national was promoted to head of products for Gojek’s international markets about four months ago.

To reach overseas markets, hyperlocalised strategies must be adopted and the services need to meet the needs of international markets, she said.

Apart from Indonesia, Gojek is running services in Vietnam, Singapore and Thailand. The company aims to enter the Philippines and Malaysia this year.

According to Ms Chen, the hyperlocalised strategy has got a good response in Thailand, with Get Food delivery service gaining momentum in the market and quickly becoming one of the top players in the country.

Gojek has offered more than 20 services, mainly in Indonesia.

Ms Chen’s task is to select services that substantially fit each market’s needs and the local context, as well as comply with legal restrictions.

“With hyperlocalised strategies, we don’t just select services from Indonesia to launch in Thailand, but go deeper to offer ‘specific features’ that can suit local needs,” Ms Chen said.

She said figuring out user needs in local markets is important, as is coming up with innovative services that may have never been rolled out before to cater to demands.

“Data and insights are a powerful weapon for this,” she said.

Ms Chen is known as one of the few female executives in the tech and startup world, which is heavily dominated by men.

According to leftronic.com, a tech job provider, fewer than 10% of startups in the world are owned by women. One-fourth of the jobs in the IT industry are occupied by women.

The data also show that women earned 29% less than their male counterparts in the tech sector in 2019.

“When I worked in Get’s engineering team, women accounted for 40%,” Ms Chen said. “At Gojek, we are open and ensure gender equality. This is a meritocracy — the best idea wins.”

She said she encourages everyone in meetings to speak up, as this is a way to collect valuable information and get amazing ideas.

“Women should be able to do anything they need and think everything possible,” Ms Chen said. “Do not let others make them not do something because someone judges they cannot do it.”

She has a passion for work and feels it can make a positive social impact, particularly with 2 million registered driver partners and 500,000 merchants in the platform.

“This is powerful and exciting,” Ms Chen said.

Gojek has an open-minded, progressive, diverse and inclusive culture, she said.

“As a female, I better understand women , who account for nearly half of the clientele,” Ms Chen said.

Before co-founding Get Thailand, she worked as a senior digital consultant for Deloitte Digital in Melbourne and as a product manager at Line Thailand.

“I decided to co-found Get Thailand because I want to see businesses that can make a social and economic impact, with entrepreneurs being supported to leverage technologies,” Ms Chen said. “We are an aggressive, dynamic team with challenges to innovate and self-improve, which is why we managed to grow the Get Food business within three months of launching.”

She said Gojek plans to scale internationally in a sustainable way.

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