Southeast Asian ride-hailing giant Grab is emerging itself as a venture capital firm. The startup has started to offer to finance to SMEs and micro-insurance to its drivers.
The move comes just after the Asian firm raised $1.5 billion in Series H funding round led by Vision Fund as part of larger $5 billion. Moreover, it acquired Uber’s Southeast Asia business in 2018 and has invested past year pushing a ‘super app’ strategy. The strategy was adopted to become a daily app for Southeast Asia — ride-hailing, food delivery, payments, and other services on demand. Financial services can be a significant chunk of that focus, and now the startup is entering into loans and micro-insurance.
The plan would involve Singapore market first, followed by Southeast Asia’s five other major markets, Reuben Lai, who is senior managing director and co-head of Grab Financial, told TechCrunch at the Money 20/20 conference in Singapore. Further, the company had already announced its launch into offline financial services last year. The new financial products announced today will be available within the app itself.
The company is also trying to develop a ‘marketplace’ for financial products. The service will allow other financial organizations to promote services to its 130 million registered users. However, Grab didn’t disclose the figure of its active user base.
In addition to the ride-hailing services, Grab also operates payments, logistics services, and food delivery businesses. Last year, it began integrating with third-party apps to bring additional services into the Grab. These services include grocery delivers from Happy Fresh, video streaming service Hooq, and health services from China’s Ping An.