Grab launches Grab Ventures to boost SEA tech ecosystem
By Digital News Asia June 6, 2018
- Aims to discover and develop Southeast Asia’s next-generation tech leaders
- Programme partners include Singapore government agencies, IMDA, Enterprise SG, EDB and EDBI
GRAB Inc, Southeast Asia’s leading online-to-offline (O2O) mobile platform, on June 5 announced the launch of Grab Ventures, the company’s innovation arm aimed at discovering and growing Southeast Asia’s next generation of technology leaders, to promote innovation and digitisation in the region.
Grab Ventures will work with private sector firms and government agencies in Singapore and across the region to support growth-stage technology companies by helping them develop and scale technologies that will solve transportation, logistics, food and payments challenges in Southeast Asia.
“As Grab turns six, we are experiencing a period of solid growth. Grab is ramping up innovation in-house to scale faster as the leading O2O mobile platform in Southeast Asia. We’re always open to partnerships where it makes sense for our business, and will look to partner or invest in the right company that enables Grab to expand our business quickly, explore new technologies and build new capabilities,” said Grab group CEO and co-founder Anthony Tan (pic, above).
The launch of Grab Ventures in conjunction with Grab’s 6th year anniversary marks a milestone in the company’s evolution beyond ride-hailing.
Grab Ventures will allow Grab to rapidly develop new technology capabilities and build fast-growing businesses in-house, as Grab continues to add new services to its O2O mobile platform.
GrabCycle, a marketplace for multiple personal mobility partners, is an example of an in-house venture that Grab nurtured and launched. Grab’s increasing ecosystem of services will also provide more income and growth opportunities for its network of driver, delivery and merchant partners.
Grab Ventures will also launch “Velocity”, an accelerator programme for growth-stage startups looking to expand across Southeast Asia.
Grab Ventures aims to be the partner of choice for startups looking to expand their business lines and geographic reach, as they will be able leverage Grab’s regional footprint, technical and market-specific operational expertise, varied ecosystem of products, such as GrabPay and GrabRewards, and network of drivers, delivery partners and merchants.
Tan added, “We’ve stood on the shoulders of giants and we now hope to pave the way for other Southeast Asian tech companies to rise and achieve success. Grab will play an active role to grow and foster the region’s startup ecosystem.
“We’ve attracted world-class engineering to Southeast Asia, and developed a tech platform with valuable assets like our huge base of drivers and delivery partners, as well as products which will help partners scale faster. It’s about enablement, and we invite growth-stage startups that want to expand across Southeast Asia to partner with Grab Ventures.”
Grab Ventures will seek to partner eight to 10 growth-stage startups over the next 24 months and may invest in select startups that exhibit strong synergies with Grab. Grab Ventures will focus on partnering startups operating in sectors such as transport, food, logistics and financial services. Companies interested in applying for the Velocity accelerator programme can visit ventures.grab.com for more information.
The Grab Ventures portfolio currently includes GrabCycle, a marketplace for multiple personal mobility partners; Kudo, Indonesia’s leading Online-to-Offline (O2O) platform; Drive.ai, AI solutions for autonomous vehicles; and iKaaz, an emerging markets mobile payments platform.
Capability development with Singapore government agencies
In Singapore, Grab is partnering with Singapore government agencies such as the Info-communications Media Development Authority of Singapore (IMDA) and Enterprise SG, tapping on their networks and startup support programmes to build a unique ecosystem to help companies grow and scale faster.
Areas of support span from capability development, market access and start-up facilitation, regulatory support and grants.
“IMDA is pleased to be working with Grab to take Singapore’s tech scene to the next level. The Velocity programme will help accelerate the growth of startups in Singapore and in Southeast Asia, as they look towards revolutionising a variety of sectors in the region.
“This will in turn spur greater innovation regionally, lead to more dynamic growth in the digital economy, and provide a richer array of choices for consumers and businesses alike,” said IMDA chief executive Tan Kiat How (pic, above).
“Grab is an innovative tech player that has been transforming the ride-hailing market with an extensive presence throughout Southeast Asia. Enterprise Singapore, as the government agency championing enterprise growth, sees great synergies in partnering with Grab to help high-potential startups develop capabilities, innovate and internationalise. Through this, we want to strengthen Singapore’s position as a global hub for startups in Asia,” said Enterprise Singapore deputy chief executive officer Ted Tan.
EDB and EDBI also join the Velocity programme as early partners, with a shared goal of supporting the growth of tech companies that could solve challenges in or revolutionise the digital, logistics, transportation and fintech sectors with their game-changing technology.