Grab lands $2 billion in funds to become ‘super-app’
One of the upcoming offerings is Trip Planner, being piloted in Indonesia
Instead of launching Google Maps when planning your next commute, Grab wants you to use its application instead.
Through its new Trip Planner service, commuters will be able to find the fastest or most affordable route using public transport and Grab services. And without leaving the app, they will also be able to book and pay for Grab rides.
Already being piloted in Indonesia, this is one of several new offerings the Singapore-based company has in the pipeline and wants to introduce here this year. These range from remittance services, insurance and on-demand video content to travel-related bookings.
The plans come after Grab secured US$1.46 billion (S$2 billion) in fresh funds from Softbank Vision Fund, in its ongoing Series H funding round.
This brings the total amount raised in the round to over US$4.5 billion.
At a press conference yesterday, Grab co-founder Tan Hooi Ling, 35, said the company will invest these funds to expand and diversify into high growth areas.
Grab has, to date, raised about US$8 billion from tech companies like Microsoft, car manufacturers and other partners as it works to fulfil its vision of becoming a one-stop "super-app", going beyond just ride-hailing.
Despite its large coffers, Ms Tan said an initial public offering (IPO) is not on the cards.
American ride-hailing firm Lyft made public its IPO filing last week, and rival Uber, which sold off its South-east Asian business to Grab last year, also plans to get listed.
Ms Tan said: "We are in a very different situation.
"We have a lot more growth areas that we are investing in. Folks used to say that we are the Uber of South-east Asia. I hope you can see why that is not the case. We have very different products right now."
She added: "As a company, the reason we are heavily fund-raising, with these kinds of numbers, is that people want us to grow more."
Head of Grab Singapore Lim Kell Jay, 36, said there are "islands of profitability" in the business, but on the whole, the firm has yet to turn a profit.
Even as the company rolls out new services, Mr Lim said it is not forgetting its core business of transport.
While details are scant, Grab will be enhancing its ride-sharing GrabShare service in phases this year, with the offer of bigger vehicles, like six-seaters or 13-seaters, a possibility.
This will cater to more price-sensitive ride-hailing users and public transport users with the appetite to spend a bit more for convenience and speed, filling gaps in its transport offerings, Mr Lim said.
Other initiatives Grab is looking to implement here include sharing more data with merchants that use GrabPay, and setting up a GrabFood Kitchen, a central facility to help food businesses without the resources increase capacity and grow.