Tokopedia CEO defied critics to build a multibillion-dollar business

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.

“Tokopedia’s story almost ended before we even started,” Tanuwijaya told CNBC Make It.

Inspired by U.S. icons

Tanuwijaya 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 Tanuwijaya

co-founder and CEO, Tokopedia

“We don’t have a…

Read more…