SINGAPORE (June 11): Grab, the ride-hailing platform, is six years old this month, and a far cry from its early days as a taxi booking app created by a pair of Harvard Business School classmates. It is the most valuable start-up in Southeast Asia, a unicorn by any standard, having raised US$4.1 billion ($5.5 billion) in disclosed funding. There have been at least three funding rounds that raised amounts that were undisclosed.
Grab even teaches budding entrepreneurs with a blogpost on its website titled “8 tips to run a successful startup”. This has pointers such as “Grab opportunities” and “If you don’t understand it, you can’t build it”. Now, Grab has launched an innovation arm called Grab Ventures that it will use to seek out other unicorns.
Grab Ventures is only the latest in a slew of services that Grab has launched over the past couple of years. The company has its origins in Malaysia, starting out in 2012 as MyTeksi to ease commuter woes in Kuala Lumpur. In 2013, it entered the Singapore market, and in 2016 rebranded as Grab. From there, a range of new services and partnerships followed, as the company sought to establish itself as a tech platform instead. In Singapore, it offers commuters a choice of express buses from the CBD and rental bicycles, in addition to taxis and private cars. Its mobile payments service GrabPay allows users to purchase food and servi ces with Grab credits from their mobile phones.