SINGAPORE, Jan 14 (Reuters) - 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 activites move
online, tech platforms have played a big role in formalising the
economy," Tilman Ehrbeck, managing partner at Flourish told
"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 licences.
Backed by investors including Softbank Group Corp,
Grab is seeking to evolve into an everyday app offering a
variety of services.
(Reporting by Anshuman Daga; Editing by Shri Navaratnam, Jane
Wardell and Michael Perry)