Grab raises $300 million for fintech arm’s ambitious expansion

Backed by investors including Softbank Group Corp, Grab is seeking to evolve into an everyday app offering a variety of services. (AFP file photo)
Short Url
Updated 14 January 2021

Grab raises $300 million for fintech arm’s ambitious expansion

  • Grab said this is the first external funding for the fintech business
  • Grab competes with the likes of Indonesia’s Gojek

SINGAPORE: Southeast Asian ride-hailing and food delivery giant Grab has raised more than $300 million from investors led by South Korea’s Hanwha Asset Management Co. Ltd. for its rapidly-expanding financial services business.
Grab said this is the first external funding for the fintech business, which has chalked out ambitious plans in insurance, lending, wealth management and payments.
Grab competes with the likes of Indonesia’s Gojek and many local start-ups that are attracting millions of customers as they look to disrupt established financial services companies in a region home to some 650 million people.
“We are at an inflection point in Southeast Asia, as the pandemic has accelerated the need for digital financial services that help us grow and protect our incomes,” Reuben Lai, senior managing director at Grab Financial Group said in a statement.
Grab’s early backers such as GGV Capital and Singapore venture capital firm K3 Ventures also participated in the fintech arm’s funding. New investors included fintech investment firm Flourish Ventures, backed by EBay founder Pierre Omidyar.
“As more and more of our life, work and activities move online, tech platforms have played a big role in formalizing the economy,” Tilman Ehrbeck, managing partner at Flourish said.
“They have a real opportunity to bring financial services to the users who often are not reached by the traditional banking system, particularly true in Southeast Asia, which has a relatively higher mobile Internet penetration,” he said.
Reuters reported in September, citing sources, that Grab was negotiating with insurers including Prudential PLC, AIA Group Ltd. and others to raise $300 million to $500 million for the financial services unit.
In December, Internet platform company Sea Ltd. and Grab’s venture with Singtel each won Singapore’s first digital full bank licenses.
Backed by investors including Softbank Group Corp, Grab is seeking to evolve into an everyday app offering a variety of services.


HSBC to axe 82 branches in UK, cut services in others

Updated 19 January 2021

HSBC to axe 82 branches in UK, cut services in others

  • The lender said it would be left with 511 branches in the UK following the closures

LONDON: HSBC said on Tuesday it planned to axe 82 branches in Britain this year after a drop in footfall across its retail network and a surge in digital banking.
The lender said it would be left with 511 branches in the UK following the closures, with many of the remaining branches set to be refurbished with some providing fewer services.
The COVID-19 pandemic has dented bank finances, putting pressure on lenders to cut costs, while more customers have opted to bank online as people have been encouraged to stay at home to combat the spread of the virus.
HSBC said it had begun trialing different branch formats and decided to provide fewer full-service branches focused in large cities and towns, with others providing cash or self-service technology.
The bank said ‘pop-up’ mobile branches would also be rolled out later this year.
“The direction of travel is really quite clear and this is borne out by the reduction in branch usage and increase in digital interaction that we are seeing first-hand,” said Jackie Uhi, HSBC UK’s head of network.