As Uber ramps up its focus on Southeast Asia and India, it's increasingly doing battle with local ride-sharing companies. Count Grab of Singapore among them. This five-year-old company started by Harvard Business School classmates Anthony Tan and Tan Hooi Ling, now serves seven countries in the region populated with more than 620 million residents.
Read More FULL LIST: 2017 DISRUPTOR 50
The company is valued at more than $10 billion, according to PitchBook, and is launching a number of initiatives in a bid to squeeze Uber out of its marketplace and secure a firm foothold. It's hiring more than 800 new R&D staff in six centers over the next two years, including new facilities in Bangalore and Ho Chi Minh City. Grab recently also set aside $100 million to invest in early-stage start-ups in mobile and financial services technology in Indonesia. In addition to testing new services, such as carpooling and food deliveries, Grab is also expanding into cashless payments.
A high percentage of the population in Southeast Asia still has no access to traditional banking or not enough services, so the company is optimistic that its cashless payments offering (called GrabPay) can have robust growth in the years ahead. So far, the company has attracted nearly $1.5 billion from investors, including Tokyo Century, SoftBank Capital and Tiger Global Management.