"It was something I dreamt about for sure," said Grab co-founder and CEO Anthony Tan as he reminisced about his early desires to defeat San Francisco ride-hailing giant Uber in his own backyard.
Speaking to CNBC just days after the announced deal to acquire Uber's Southeast Asia business, Tan admitted that winning doesn't always come easy: "Of course" there was debate, he said, about whether giving up 27.5 percent of the company to Uber was the right amount. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has said that stake is worth "several billion dollars."
Yet Tan isn't wasting time debating percentages, he said he's setting his sights on tackling the region's next big problem: the "many who are unbanked," working to make "the invisible, visible."
Ever since wrapping a $2 billion fundraising round led by Softbank and Didi Chuxing last July, Grab has been moving quickly to connect the millions of "invisibles" across the region to its financial services.
The GrabPay e-wallet launched across Southeast Asia in November of last year on the heels of the company introducing its peer-to-peer payments service. The financial technology push picked up momentum last month when Grab inked a joint venture with Japan's Credit Saison to form Grab Financial Services. On the same day, Grab announced a partnership with insurance giant Chubb for in-app insurance solutions.