Career Advice, Start-Up

Career Advice, Start-Up

Investors said he was not 'born special'. He later became the CEO of a multibillion-dollar start-up

Investors said he was not 'born special'. He later became the CEO of a multibillion-dollar start-up (via @CNBCMakeIt)

6/11/2021 7:47:00 AM

Investors said he was not 'born special'. He later became the CEO of a multibillion-dollar start-up (via CNBCMakeIt)

William Tanuwijaya is one-quarter of the leadership of Indonesia's newly-merged GoTo Group. But he was determined to build his business despite criticisms.

Today, William Tanuwijaya is a formidable force.As CEO of e-commerce site Tokopedia, the 39-year-old is one-quarter of the leadership of the newly- merged GoTo Group —Indonesia's most valuable technology company.But his business may never have come to be if it weren't for his determination in the face of critics.

Juno Joins Observatories to Solve 'Energy Crisis' on Jupiter Evenhanded Oatmeal Packaging Won’t Say Which Cooking Method Preferred The Onion’s Guide To HIPAA

"Tokopedia's story almost ended before we even started," Tanuwijaya told.Inspired by U.S. iconsTanuwijaya was just in his early 20s when he set out on a mission to "democratize e-commerce" by creating a website for Indonesia's millions of small business owners to sell their goods online.

It was then the mid-2000s and the internet was taking off in the country. But with no established tech industry or local role models to learn from, Tanuwijaya had to look to the greats.I do not come from the Ivy League ... I always consider myself a graduate from internet cafe.

William Tanuwijayaco-founder and CEO, Tokopedia"We don't have a success story like Mark Zuckerberg or Sergey Brin, Steve Jobs or Jack Ma. There was no such story of entrepreneurs from Indonesia building technology companies during that time," he said.

Inspired by their stories, Tanuwijaya knew he — like them — would have to raise private investment to get his idea off the ground. But as a young Indonesian from a rural background and humble beginnings, he soon realized he didn't fit the mold.William Tanuwijaya, co-founder and CEO of Tokopedia, part of Indonesian tech giant GoTo.

GoTo"They'd ask about my personal background ... which university I studied at," Tanuwijaya said, recalling his conversations with investors."I do not come from the Ivy League," said Tanuwijaya, who studied at Binus University in Jakarta while working night shifts in an internet cafe to support his family. "I always consider myself a graduate from internet cafe."

Then they'd ask him about the wider market opportunity."They'd ask me, William, can you name one person who has been successful in Indonesia because they're building a technology company or internet business?" he said.'All of your role models, these Silicon Valley founders, they are born special, you are not.'

Black women, across generations, heed Biles’ Olympic example Meghan marks 40th birthday with launch of female mentorship program AP: Police brass eyed in probe of Black man's deadly arrest

William Tanuwijayaco-founder and CEO, TokopediaDespite being home to the world's fourth-largest population and a rapidly growing middle class, investors were unsure of Indonesia's potential or if he was the man to realize it."Your idea is very simple," he recalled them saying. "You want to build the Amazon of Indonesia or the Alibaba of Indonesia. What about when all these global giants come to the market? They have the technology, they have the capital, they have the know-how, they have the resources that you do not have. How can you compete?"

Adopting the American dreamThen came the day when he met with one private investor who changed his life forever."He said: William, all of your role models, these Silicon Valley founders, they are born special, you are not," Tanuwijaya recalled. "Please stop daydreaming; find something more realistic to do."

For Tanuwijaya, it was the catalyst he needed."That is the day when I found the purpose of my life because I realized the reason I wanted to build Tokopedia is to build trust among strangers to be able to start business anywhere," he said.Indonesia actually has an Indonesian dream concept ... 'Dream as high as the sky. If you fall, you fall amongst the stars.'

William Tanuwijayaco-founder and CEO, TokopediaLike his U.S. idols, whom he said to embody the American dream of self-determination, Tanuwijaya said he discovered a drive to be undiscouraged and help other Indonesian business owners."That day I remembered that Indonesia actually has an Indonesian dream concept," said Tanuwijaya. "Our founding father, the first president of the country, once said … 'Dream as high as the sky. If you fall, you fall amongst the stars.'"

"I find that's beautiful and that's the Indonesian dream," he said. "So I decided that no matter what happens, I will try to build Tokopedia."After launching Tokopedia in 2009, Tanuwijaya and his co-founder Leontinus Alpha Edison soon secured seed funding from the Indonesian investment firm PT Indonusa Dwitama. It has since received buy-in from SoftBank, Sequoia Capital and Alibaba Group.

More than a decade on, under the GoTo Group, Tokopedia counts a network of more than 11 million merchants and 100 million active users, who last year contributed 1% to Indonesia's $1.1 trillion gross domestic product. Read more: CNBC »

Louisiana nurse shares emotional plea amid delta variant COVID-19 surge: 'People are younger and sicker'

Since July 30, her video has been viewed nearly 188,000 times.

MakeIt IPO or spac merger with $btwn? MakeIt Inspiring! MakeIt How to find Einstein inside you Every human has the capacity for some form of genius. You don’t have to be good with math or physics to experience genius level in your thinking

thanks I need to wife that up

'DUFUS': As infrastructure bill drags on, lawmakers get punchyDuring a tense, five hour House transportation bill markup, Rep. Garret Graves sat behind one of his colleagues and typed “RODNEY DAVIS = DUFUS” into a blank Word document, angling his computer toward the camera Wow, just like middle school, bet that hurt his feelings It's good to see some light-hearted moments like this. When will Democrats realize that republicans are only interested in bipartisan support when they’re doing things their way

UPS Stock Flopped on Its Investor Day. Here’s What Wall Street Is Saying.Wall Street's reaction to the United Parcel Service investor and analyst day has been mixed. But UPS stock made a comeback on Thursday. wow

Wife of drug kingpin 'El Chapo' pleads guilty to U.S. chargesWife of Mexican drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman pleads guilty to charges in the US and admits that she helped her husband run his multibillion-dollar criminal empire. She has some close relatives who must be a bit concerned about what she may do. Why did she come to the US when she did? It's a tough business. Does she know she will not be in the same prison as El Chappo or same cell? She should run for Congress in the US as she seems qualified.

CEOs and investors push world leaders for stronger climate actionA group of 79 company bosses and investors managing $41 trillion issued separate calls on Thursday for world leaders to accelerate action on climate change by enacting more ambitious policies in areas including carbon pricing.

Crowdstrike CEO on the evolution of ransomware: 'It's become big game hunting''Now the adversaries are taking a page out of nation-state actors,' Crowdstrike CEO George Kurtz said Wednesday in a 'Mad Money' interview.