- GrabTaxi, GrabCar, GrabBike, GrabHitch and GrabExpress under the Grab umbrella
- Startup ‘moving towards profitability in some verticals,’ says CEO Anthony Tan
THE startup formerly known as Prince – er, MyTeksi, and then later GrabTaxi – has formally changed its name to Grab, bringing all its services under one umbrella brand.
First established in Malaysia in 2012 as MyTeksi with a taxi-hailing app of the same name, the company rebranded to GrabTaxi in October 2013 when it expanded overseas and incorporated its international headquarters in Singapore.
The rebranding makes sense for the startup, since it has expanded its portfolio beyond hailing taxis, with a slew of services such as GrabCar, GrabBike, GrabHitch and GrabExpress.
The rebranding comes with a new logo, and a new version of its flagship app, which has also been renamed from GrabTaxi to just Grab.
“Look at these roads, they symbolise Grab – these roads took us from GrabTaxi, GrabCar, GrabBike, GrabExpress and GrabHitch,” cofounder and chief executive officer Anthony Tan (pic above) said at the formal unveiling today (Jan 28) in Singapore.
“The possibilities are endless – wherever these roads take us, we know there is one common destination, and that one common destination is the promise that we will all serve our customers by solving local problems,” he declared.
The new version of the app includes a personalised booking experience, where it auto-fills the pickup and dropoff points based on the user’s commonly used locations.
Other features include automated retries for a booking, a simplified one-click registration process, and real-time tracking of the driver.
The current payment solution, GrabPay, also got an upgrade, and is now able to cater to more than one credit card.
Grab also announced a new service for companies called GrabWork, which allows users to tag business rides and download consolidated statements for easier claims submissions.
When asked about what prompted the rebranding, Tan said it was to ensure that the startup’s branding was consistent.
“It was really making sure that one brand covers all the different services,” he said. “It’s not just a logo, not just a brand, but an identity to reinforce [us] as a leader in the region.”
This rebranding will be rolled out to all its markets, including Malaysia where MyTeksi will finally be rebranded to Grab, after having hung on to its original name all this while.
“Globally we will be rebranded as Grab … what matters to consumers and riders is that they get a safe and reliable ride,” said group vice president Cheryl Tan.
“As long as the brand continues with that, we don’t see any issues rebranding to Grab,” she added.
New markets, new services
GrabTaxi will continue its focus on the South-East Asian ecosystem, and is looking at new markets in the region, according to Tan.
“Today, we are in six countries and 28 cities; we can assure you that there will be an expansion, but we can’t disclose which countries or cities,” he said.
Revenue is also on the up and up, according to Tan, who claimed that Grab’s 2015 numbers had “exceeded expectations.”
“Revenue went up multiple times last year; unfortunately, we don’t disclose [specific numbers],” he said.
“It has grown extremely fast; even faster than we hoped for last year,” he added.
Tan also claimed that Grab would be hitting profitability in some of its verticals “soon.”
“Certain verticals will be profitable this year, but we can’t say which ones,” he said.
Having secured more than US$700 million in funding thus far, and with a valuation north of US$1 billion, making it South-East Asia’s first ‘unicorn’ of the current dotcom era, is an IPO (initial public offering) on the cards?
“We don’t really need it … there’s still a significant amount of cash that we can invest with,” said Tan.
“It is an option on the table, but right now there are no immediate plans,” he added.
Recently, lifestyle blog VulcanPost reported stumbling across a GrabTaxi physical kiosk, dubbed GrabVenue, at a hotel in Singapore.
When asked about it, Grab cofounder Tan Hooi Ling said that the idea stemmed from the issue of users being unable to call a cab if their smartphone’s battery had died.
“If your battery just died, you would be able to book a taxi from a physical kiosk at select venues,” she said.
Meanwhile, Grab’s global alliance with other ride-hailing startups Ola, Lyft and Didi Kuaidi will allow customers to use any of the above four apps to book a ride in any country that the partners operate in.
“From a technology perspective, we share the same set of problems and there is one initiative we are working on with the global alliance, which will allow a Grab user to book a ride using the existing app to book a ride in the United States, for example,” said Grab vice-president of engineering Arul Kumaravel.
“We are working on this right now,” he added.
Asked when this feature would be rolled out, Grab group product manager Joel Yarbrough said, “Soon – we are not going to announce it right now, we are still working on it.”
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