Entrepreneur

Grab Likely To Get An Additional US$1 Billion This Year, Says Company President Ming Maa

Southeast Asian O2O giant Grab is not finished with fundraising, said its President Ming Maa in an interview with Finance Asia published Wednesday.

Maa said that the firm is “likely to get to a US$3 billion fundraising round this year”.

Since April, it has already secured US$2 billion in its ongoing Series H round from a slew of investors.

One billion came from Toyota, and other investors included Ping An Capital, Naver, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Macquarie Capital and many others.

Its shareholders also include Chinese and American ride-hailing giants Didi and Uber.

The firm started off as a ride-hailing service and has ventured into other verticals, from mobile payments to food delivery.

Today, it is available in eight countries in Southeast Asia and claims to have captured 65% of Indonesia’s ride-hailing market – its largest in Southeast Asia.

Data-Fuelled Fundraising

Grab is also betting big on data analytics and artificial intelligence, choosing to work with educational institutions and governments to further its research.

The trove of insights to be gained here from massive consumer numbers in Southeast Asia appear to be driving bullish investors to bet their money on the firm.

At the moment, Southeast Asia is home to around 620 million people and more than half of them use the internet.

A 2017 report co-authored by Google and Temasek noted that ride-hailing in the region has grown four times since 2015, and will be an industry worth US$20.1 billion by 2025.

Grab sits in a unique position to be able to observe trends and patterns across the region.

It collects data on consumer habits at all stages across countries with very different socioeconomic backgrounds.

Grab’s data spans affluent Singapore as well as still-developing Myanmar.

Secondly, by encompassing almost all aspects of a typical user’s day – from ordering food or paying at a restaurant to getting a taxi or visiting a doctor, Grab can potentially see a lot about how users interact with technology and the world around them.

Maa joined Grab in 2016 from Softbank where he played a key role in securing the ride-hailing firm’s Series D and F financing round.

In the interview, he said that the value of Grab’s data is amplified in Southeast Asia “because there’s no alternative, there’s no data set available to begin with. That’s the shocking part of the opportunity.”

The interviewer also asked Maa to comment on the rumour that Alibaba might invest in Grab.

Maa did not give a direct answer but seemed to imply that Grab is currently wary of taking capital from a big name brand with a digital ecosystem as tightly knit as Alibaba’s.

Grab’s main competitor in Southeast Asia is its Indonesia-based counterpart Go-Jek, which has also been fundraising to enter new markets where Grab has already built up a strong presence.

With backers like Tencent, Go-Jek has secured more than US$2.1 billion in financing, according to Crunchbase. This is in contrast to Grab’s total of US$6.1 billion raised to date.

The Indonesian firm recently launched its services in Thailand and Vietnam under local names GET and Go-Viet respectively, and has plans to enter other markets like Singapore and the Philippines.

This article is written by Elaine Huang (edited by Nadine Freischlad) and was first seen on KRAsia

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