It’s only been operating in Singapore since late November, but Indonesia’s Go-Jek is already following in the footsteps of its ride-hailing and fintech rival, Grab, by poaching senior people from the banking sector.
Go-Jek, a tech unicorn valued at about $5bn and backed by Google, Temasek and Tencent, has hired HSBC’s Adam D'Arcy as its Singapore-based chief product officer for Mapan, a lending network that it acquired in December 2017.
D’Arcy joined HSBC in January 2016 in Hong Kong and has spent the last 18 months primarily focused on developing the bank’s successful peer-to-peer payments service PayMe as its chief product officer, according to his online profile. His departure comes as a blow to the bank as the app now boasts more than 1m active users in Hong Kong and D'arcy describes himself as its “creator”.
Last month we predicted that Go-Jek, whose Indonesian operations now span 18 platforms including food delivery and digital payments, would soon start to take on technology staff from banks as it builds its Singapore business. D’Arcy’s move indicates that this is already happening.
Go-Jek’s office in Singapore’s Shenton Way focuses on high-end specialist jobs in data science and engineering. It currently has six local vacancies, all in engineering, including an applied researcher in deep learning. Most of its tech staff are employed in Jakarta, Bangalore and Thailand, where labour costs are much lower than in Singapore.
Go-Jek is far from the only large tech company that has raided the finance sector of late. Banks in Singapore have faced increased competition for talent from Asian unicorns and US tech firms over the past 12 months. Grab, for example, recruited Gary Wong from OCBC last May as the head of its mobile wallet app, GrabPay. Amazon, Facebook and Google have also been staffing up their sizeable Singapore operations with help from the banking talent pool.
But while tech hiring is predicted to increase at Go-Jek, do not expect a boom. The firm’s Singapore development team is unlikely to be as large as rival Grab’s any time soon. Niranjan Paranjape, chief technology officer, said in October that Go-Jek has adopted an “ultra-lean” engineering approach, partly shaped by a Chicago-based consultant ThoughtWorks. Go-Jek has about 200 engineers globally – about one per 500k monthly users. “Ten good engineers is better than 100 average engineers”, Paranjape added.
D’Arcy began his career in 2009 at IT services company Logica in the UK and also founded two UK-based digital startups. He worked for fintech firm FINkit between 2011 and 2015 in London, Jakarta and Hong Kong.
Image credit: afif c. kusuma, Getty