4. Grab

Southeast Asia's super app

Founders: Anthony Tan (CEO), Tan Hooi Ling
Launched: 2012
Headquarters: Singapore
$9.1 billion (PitchBook)
Valuation: $14 billion (PitchBook)
Key technologies:
Artificial intelligence, machine learning
Public transportation, taxi and limousine services

George Kavallines | CNBC

Ride hailing is just one slice of Grab, the Singapore-based company that is growing rapidly across Southeast Asia. It has morphed into a leading mobile platform offering everything from transportation and financial services to on-demand grocery. In November it introduced GrabWheels, an on-demand scooter business, after acquiring Uber's business in the region in March 2018. The deal integrated Uber's ride-sharing and food-delivery business in Southeast Asia onto Grab's platform, which includes operations in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, among others.

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Grab Financial offers an array of products, including its popular digital-payment service GrabPay. It is making inroads with customers that don't have substantial banking histories. In October the company partnered with MasterCard to issue prepaid cards for the unbanked. That's key because a high percentage of the population in Southeast Asia still has no access to traditional banking, so the company is optimistic that this business will grow quickly, especially among microentrepreneurs. In the span of five months last year, Grab Financial's total payment volume more than doubled, making it the leading mobile payment platform in Southeast Asia.

Today Grab has more than 9 million microentrepreneurs on its platform, and the app has been downloaded over 144 million times.

Next up: the creation of a digital insurance marketplace with fractionized premiums through a joint venture with China's ZhongAn Online P&C Insurance Co.

Seven-year-old Grab was started by Harvard Business School classmates Anthony Tan and Tan Hooi Ling. Grab has raised $8.8 billion so far from investors, including $1.5 billion in March from SoftBank's Vision Fund. It's also raised money from Toyota, Hyundai Motor and China's Didi Chuxing.

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