FACTBOX-Grab, Southeast Asia's biggest startup, set for bumper U.S. listing

Launched in Malaysia as a taxi app in June 2012, what is Grab now?

SINGAPORE: Grab, Southeast Asia's biggest ride-hailing and food delivery firm, is going public in the United States via a merger with special-purpose acquisition company Altimeter Growth Corp securing a valuation of nearly $40 billion.

The deal is set to be the world's biggest ever by a blank check company.


Founded in 2012 in Malaysia, Grab is Southeast Asia's largest startup and was valued at just over $16 billion last year. It launched as a Malaysia taxi-hailing service and has since expanded into food, grocery and parcel delivery to digital payments, lending and other financial services, calling itself a superapp.

Headquartered in Singapore, it operates across eight markets in the region, counting Indonesia as its biggest one. Grab's venture with Singapore Telecommunications won a digital bank license in Singapore last year.

Grab was thrust into the global spotlight in 2018 when Uber sold its Southeast Asian business to it and in return took a stake in the company.

Grab has about 7,000 employees and has tech centres in Singapore, Beijing, Seattle, Bangalore, Ho Chi Minh City and Club-Napoca in Romania.


Grab has raised about $12 billion so far from the likes of Japan's Softbank Group Corp and MUFG and China's Didi Chuxing. Its investors range from venture and hedge funds to automobile companies and other ride-hailing firms, and include:

Uber Technologies, Booking Holdings, China Investment Corporation, Coatue Management, GGV Capital, Hillhouse Capital, Hyundai Motor Company, Invesco Ltd, Microsoft Corp, Ping An Capital, Toyota Motor Corp, Tiger Global, Vertex Ventures Holdings and Yamaha Motor Co..

As part of the listing, new investors will include Temasek Holdings, BlackRock, Fidelity International, Abu Dhabi's Mubadala and Malaysia's Permodalan Nasional Bhd


Indonesian ride-hailing and payments firm Gojek is Grab's biggest competitor. Gojek and the country's leading e-commerce business Tokopedia are close to a merger ahead of a planned listing.

Singapore-based Sea, which has e-commerce, gaming and a digital payments business, is also muscling into food delivery and financial services in Indonesia. Sea won a digital bank license in Singapore.

Grab is also likely to increasingly start competing with banks as it expands its financial services.

It also competes with the likes of delivery companies such as FoodPanda and Deliveroo.


Grab's net revenue surged 70% last year and it saw its delivery business emerge as its biggest segment as more consumers shifted to online food delivery during the pandemic. Its ride-hailing business is breaking even in all its operating markets, including Indonesia.

Grab reported adjusted net revenue of $1.6 billion in 2020 and expects this to rise to $4.5 billion in 2023. It expects to turn positive on an earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization basis in 2023.

In February, it raised $2 billion from a term loan and holds about $5 billion in cash reserves.


Anthony Tan, 39, is the company's CEO and co-founder.

Hooi Ling Tan is the other co-founder and overseas Grab's operations, including corporate strategy and technology.

Both Tans, unrelated, met at Harvard Business School where they conceived the idea of the ride-hailing company.

Grab's president is Ming Maa, a prominent dealmaker from SoftBank, who joined the company in 2016.

- Reuters
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