In its latest move beyond ride-hailing, Southeast Asia’s Grab has started to offer financing to SMEs and micro-insurance to its drivers.
The launch comes just weeks after Grab raised $1.5 billion from the Vision Fund as part of a larger $5 billion Series H funding round that’ll be used to battle rival Go-Jek, which is vying with Grab to become the top on-demand app for Southeast Asia’s 600 million-plus consumers.
Grab acquired Uber’s Southeast Asia business in 2018 and it has spent the past year or so pushing a ‘super app’ strategy. That’s essentially an effort to become a daily app for Southeast Asia and, beyond rides, it entails food delivery, payments and other services on demand. Financial services are also a significant chunk of that focus, and now Grab is switching on loans and micro-insurance for the first time.
Initially, the first market is Singapore, but the plan is to expand to Southeast Asia’s five other major markets, Reuben Lai, who is senior managing director and co-head of Grab Financial, told TechCrunch on the sidelines of the Money20/20 conference in Singapore. Lai declined to provide a timeframe for the expansion.
The company announced its launch into financial services last year and that, Lai confirmed, was a purely offline effort. Now the new financial products announced today will be available from within the Grab app itself.
Grab is also planning to develop a ‘marketplace’ of financial products that will allow other financial organizations to promote services to its 130 million registered users. Grab doesn’t provide figures for its active user base.
Grab announced a platform play last summer that allows selected partners to develop services that sit within its app. Some services have included grocery delivers from Happy Fresh, video streaming service Hooq, and health services from China’s Ping An.