The Singapore-based ride-grabbing giant raised $200m from Booking Holdings (the company formerly known as Priceline) to expand its growing list of financial services.
After strong-arming Southeast Asia’s ride-hailing market, Grab is now positioning itself as a de facto bank for its 100m+ users.
No longer up for Grabs
Anthony Tan, Grab’s founder and the heir to a Malaysian auto-importing dynasty, launched a service called GrabTaxi in 2012.
The company relocated to Singapore in 2014 and raised a Series A, B, C, and D in a single year. Grab has now raised $6.3B, expanded its offerings beyond taxis (GrabCar, GrabBike, GrabCycle, GrabShare, GrabFamily), to continue to stay ahead of rivals Uber and Go-Jek.
From motorcycles to money management
Go-Jek is still fighting the good fight (it raised $1.2B this week at a valuation of $9B), but Grab’s quasi-monopoly on ride-hailing gave it the financial flexibility to expand beyond transportation.
Last November, the company launched GrabPay, a payment system for 3rd-party vendors that allows customers to use the app to Grab anything from street-meat to a ride home.
Then, last week, Grab announced a partnership with Mastercard to offer prepaid cards to its users, doubling down on fintech.
The future is finance
Executives on the financial team at Grab told Axios that their finance products now represent a bigger market opportunity for Grab than its ride-hailing offerings.
Since just 27% of Southeast Asian consumers have a bank account, Grab could conceivably become the primary banking provider to the majority of its pool of 110m hailers.
In addition to its partnership with Mastercard, Grab has partnered with Japanese money lender Credit Saison and American insurer Chubb (and now Booking Holdings) to expands its financial offerings.
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