GrabTaxi CTO Wei Zhu quits after a year
By Benjamin Cher August 4, 2015
- Left for personal reasons, interested in building his own startup
- Previously led the engineering team that developed Facebook Connect
GRABTAXI chief technology officer (CTO) Wei Zhu (pic), the former Facebook engineer who joined the taxi-hailing startup to great fanfare in August last year, has left the company after just about a year.
“I left for personal reasons. GrabTaxi is doing amazingly well and I am super-proud of what my team has accomplished in the last 12 months,” he told Digital News Asia (DNA) via LinkedIn.
“I was fortunate to be able to recruit Arul Kumaravel from Amazon as our vice president of engineering three months ago. I am confident that we will have strong technical leadership at GrabTaxi going forward,” he added.
Zhu first announced his departure in a Facebook post, saying that he had been thinking about working on his own startup before GrabTaxi had even approached him.
“It was a little more than a year ago when I first heard of GrabTaxi. I was one week away from leaving Singapore and going back to America to work on my own startup.
“Even though I never entertained the idea of joining another company at the time, GrabTaxi caught my attention because I was fascinated by the vision of transforming transportation for 500 million people in South-East Asia,” he said.
Zhu described his 12 months or so at the Malaysian-founded and Singapore-headquartered GrabTaxi as “an amazing year of adventure.”
“We grew our tech team from 20 to almost 100, and built new US$100-million R&D (research and development) centres in Singapore, Beijing and HCMC (Ho Chi Minh City). We are often called the biggest tech startup in South-East Asia's history,” he added.
Zhu also thanked GrabTaxi founder Anthony Tan and the teams for his time there, saying, “Now it is time for me to move on to explore new adventures in life. I would like to thank our founder Anthony Tan and the team of passionate and amazing fellow Grabbers for sharing this ride of a lifetime!”
At Facebook, Zhu had led the engineering team which developed Facebook Connect.
His departure comes after GrabTaxi’s reported US$200-million [corrected] fundraising round in July, which followed the launch of its US$100-million Singapore-based R&D centre in April.
As CTO, he was charged with the development and execution of new technologies, in addition to planning for risk and growth. He said then that his role was to help the company scale and build innovative products.
When asked about his plans, Zhu told DNA, “Life is short. I would like to spend some more time with my kids and do some travelling in the next few months.
“I plan to stay in the South-East Asia region for now. I may be doing some VC (venture capital) work or build my own startup after some rest,” he added.
As at press time, GrabTaxi had not responded to DNA’s request for comments.
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