GrabTaxi raises Series A for undisclosed amount : Page 2 of 2
By Karamjit Singh April 8, 2014
Q&A with Chua Kee Lock, group president and chief executive officer, Vertex Venture Holdings
DNA: What convinced you to invest into GrabTaxi?
Chua: When we were first met Anthony Tan (founder and CEO of GrabTaxi), we saw a young person with passion, drive and the hunger to succeed. We are impressed with his strong desire to build a lasting enterprise with both profit and social agenda. From a business and technology perspective, GrabTaxi will disrupt the existing offerings by enabling passengers and drivers to find each other easily with its mobile apps and cloud solution.
DNA: Beyond the money invested, how else will you be helping GrabTaxi?
Chua: Our portfolio companies are generally younger but disrupting the incumbents or solutions. The challenges are therefore tremendous. It is therefore critical for us as a VC to work with the founders and management team closely to be their sounding board and to help them whenever necessary by leveraging on presence and connection. Putting money in the startup is a necessary but insufficient requisite.
DNA: There are other deep pocket competitors in this space. Why are you confident GrabTaxi can execute better than them because winning in this space will not be about having the better technology?
Chua: The GrabTaxi team is passionate about what they are trying to do. They are always looking for ways to innovate and apply the right technology to differentiate. Within a mere six month period, GrabTaxi was able to more than triple its bookings and quadruple the number of taxis in its network. Their performance to-date speaks for itself.
DNA: Do you expect GrabTeksi to stay focused on the Asean market or go beyond that?
Chua: Asean is our main focus today. Over time, we intend to make our solution available in other parts of the world either directly or through partnerships.
DNA: You have invested in over 350 startups over the years. What's next for Vertex?
Chua: Vertex was established in 1998 and we are the longest operating VC firm in Asia with 25 investment professionals spread across our offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Bangalore, Taipei and Singapore. With the right amount of financial and business support, we have been successful in building many young startups into leaders and champions. In the coming months, we will re-establish our presence in the Silicon Valley and are focused on investing in the early stage opportunities especially within the Information Technology and Healthcare sectors.