Speaking at tech conference Innovfest Unbound 2018, Grab CEO Anthony Tan announced the official launch of Grab Ventures, a new investment and accelerator arm of Grab. Its aim? To catalyse and grow the start-up scene in the South-East Asia region.
To do so, Grab Ventures will be working with Singaporean and regional private sector firms and government agencies 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.
Since its inception 6 years ago, Grab has taken the ride-hailing industry by storm, expanding into 217 cities across Southeast Asia and hitting a $6B valuation. Now, it is looking for avenues to expand in the ride-hailing sector and beyond.
“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 start-up 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 start-ups that want to expand across Southeast Asia to partner with Grab Ventures,” said Tan.
The new arm will also be running Velocity, an accelerator program for growth-stage companies looking to revolutionise a variety of sectors in the region. Besides receiving funding, start-ups participating in the program will gain access to Grab’s regional network of partners as well as their operational expertise and technical resources.
It is seeking to partner eight to ten start-ups over the next couple of years, particularly in “select start-ups that exhibit strong synergies with Grab”. The size of the fund has not yet been announced.
At the present moment, the Grab Ventures portfolio includes GrabCycle, a marketplace app for bike and e-scooter sharing; Drive.ai, a US autonomous vehicle start-up; iKaaz, an emerging markets mobile payments platform; and Kudo, Indonesia’s leading Online-to-Offline (O2O) digital payment platform.
The Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) and EDBI has joined the Velocity program as early partners, with a shared goal of supporting the growth of tech companies providing technology to solve challenges in or revolutionise the digital, logistics, transportation and fintech sectors.
“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.” Tan added.
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