Grab celebrates fifth anniversary: Launches GrabNow, nears another fundraising round

9 Jun

By Kajal Joshi, The Tech Portal

Singapore-headquartered ride-hailing service Grab turns five today and with the celebrations came some major announcement and revelations.

Since its launch in 2013, the company has seen a significant growth – be it in terms of regional expansion, the number of rides, services offered or the benefits to everyone associated with them.

It had recorded 67,000 passengers in the year it commenced its operations, and now, about 45 million passengers have used Grab already in 2017. And well, we aren’t even through with the second quarter of this year. Let’s have a look at some more data revealed by the company:

Passengers: Commutation made easier and safer

Grab reports that the users have saved 52% of the travel time on an average when compared to public transports in the cities. Rightly having highly congested cities, Philippines surprisingly witnessed a  70% reduction in travel time and Indonesia saw 64% decline.

While on the safety front, the traffic rates experienced during a Grab ride is on average 5 times less than the country average. This, Grab believes, has increased people’s trust, with the app downloads witnessing a 360% year-on-year increase since 2013.

Drivers: Increased exposure, higher earnings

Over 930,000 driver-partners are associated with the company to support their families financially. The number of drivers have risen  340% year-on-year since 2013, and this percentage is even higher in Indonesia, a 574% growth.

In addition, the driver-partners earn 32% more on a per hour basis compared to average worker wages across all of Grab’s markets.

Not only this, working with Grab has led to an increase in financial inclusion and internet penetration amongst them. As per a report published by Google and Temasek in 2016, 70% of Southeast Asians lacked basic internet access. Grab has been doing its bit, by increasing exposure to internet for the driver partners through the Grab micro financed phones.

The startup has even assisted two-thirds of them, about 640,000, in opening bank accounts, hence, introducing them to banking and other financial services.

GrabNow: Digitizing street hailing experience

Grab has announced a new service, named GrabNow, which enables passengers to flag down a GrabBike driver on the street, book a ride with the same driver immediately and pay via the Grab app. The service will be first available in Jakarta and will provide them with benefits of the platform, including best-in-class safety standards, upfront fixed fares and GrabRewards loyalty points.

What about the funding?

Grab had raised $750 million from SoftBank from Series F funding at a valuation of $3 billion. Today, in a statement, to Reuters, Anthony Tan, Group CEO and co-founder of Grab,

I can’t specifically give a time line but I can imagine somewhere in the near future, there probably could be more money coming in. That’s probably quite likely.

This further supports the report by Bloomberg that reported the startup had been planning a $1.5 billion fundraise from SoftBank Corporation again.

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