The Southeast Asia startup ecosystem is booming with plenty of interest from investors and the media. With $2 billion funding, Singapore-based Grab Holdings Inc. (Grab) is the latest to join the league.
According to a 2017 report published by the managing consulting firm CB Insights,every year since 2012, Southeast Asian startups have pulled in more funding. The study highlighted that last year tech companies in the region have pulled in $6.5 billion in disclosed equity funding. That’s more than twice as much as the $3.1 billion brought in in 2016, and more than three times the $1.7 billion raised in 2015.
This year seems no less remarkable for Southeast Asian startups. Recently Ride-hailing startup Grab announced $2 billion funding from Japanese automaker Toyota.
To underscore Grab’s aim to be the leading technology player in the region, the Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) has been joined by a slate of leading global financial institutions, including OppenheimerFunds, Ping An Capital, Mirae Asset and other investors.
Strengthening Its O2O (Online To Offline) Presence
“The investment by these leading global financial institutions reflect their belief in Grab’s long-term growth opportunity, and the company’s unique ability to unlock the region’s growth potential through Grab’s industry-changing Online to Offline (O2O) and transportation platform,” the company says in the press release.
The current financing round strengthens Grab’s aim to be the leading technology company in the region. Grab will use the funds to expand the range of O2O services it provides in Southeast Asia and to become the “everyday app of choice for millions in the region,” added the release.
Founded in 2012 by Anthony Tan and Tan Hooi Ling, the tech company offers ride-hailing, ride sharing, and logistics services through its app in Singapore and neighbouring Southeast Asian nations like Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, and Cambodia.
Ming Maa, President of Grab, said in the release, “We are honoured to welcome these top-tier financial institutions into our roster of strategic investors and partners. Grab is today the industry-changing O2O platform that enables millions of consumers and entrepreneurs to come online and drive the digital economy in Southeast Asia. We have seen overwhelming interest from global strategic investors and partners who are keen to partner with us to capture the region’s booming growth.”
The Go-Jek Vs Grab War:
Grab’s biggest rival is Indonesia-based Go-Jek, which recently announced its plan to expand into four other south-east Asian countries namely Singapore, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. In particular, Grab will use a significant portion of the proceeds from the current fundraise to continue investing in Indonesia, where it is the dominant on-demand transport booking company. The company has over 7.1 million micro-entrepreneurs on its platform, more than half of whom reside in Indonesia.
In November 2017, Grab reached one billion rides with 66 concurrent rides in one second across seven countries, occupying 97% market share in the third-party taxi hailing market and 72% in the private vehicle hailing market. Earlier this year, Uber sold its Southeast Asia-based business to Grab in exchange of 27.5 percent stake in the latter.