Moving beyond payments to grow as a formidable fintech business in SE Asia

In conversation with Rueben Lai, senior managing director, Grab Financial Group

Grab, one of Southeast Asia’s most valuable startups, started as a ride-hailing business in 2012 and gradually diversified into food and deliveries and fintech offering myriad services under the super app umbrella, tapping an addressable market of 650-million plus people in the region. In a milestone deal earlier this year, Grab announced a $40 billion deal with special purpose acquisition vehicle Altimeter Growth Corp and is working to list on the Nasdaq in the fourth quarter. 

Per its recent Q1 numbers, Grab has benefited from a surge in the food and delivery business as well as digital payments while its mainstay mobility vertical has been reeling from the pandemic-induced movement curbs in its core markets. Grab’s financial services segment recorded its highest quarterly total payment volume (TPV) so far in Q1 2021 with year-on-year growth of 17%. Grab projects that the total TPV of its financial services division will touch $11 billion in 2021, clocking a growth of 23.6% YoY.  Furthermore, Grab posted strong growth in lending and insurance segments in Q1. 

Grab has plans to move beyond payments as it bulks up its financial services layer. It has tied up with SingTel to set up a digital bank in Singapore that is likely to commence operations next year. In Indonesia, however, Grab’s financial services business will see an impact following the merger between tech giants Gojek and Tokopedia, which is a co-investor in e-wallet OVO along with Grab. 

How does Grab see its fintech play evolving beyond the payments business? Will we see Grab getting into acquisition mode to bulk up its activities within the segment? How do we see OVO ownership changing following the GoTo merger in Indonesia? How will Grab leverage the partnership with Indonesian conglomerate Emtek Group to deepen its presence in SE Asia’s largest market? What are the group’s plans for other SE Asian markets? When will the financial services business likely become EBITDA positive?

Grab Financial Group senior managing director Reuben Lai will throw light on these questions and more about the road ahead for the company’s fintech ambitions. At Grab, Reuben has launched multiple successful businesses, including a car leasing platform, Grab for Business, and Grab Ventures. He was also the Chief of Staff to Grab’s CEO. Before joining Grab, Reuben was a co-founder and CEO of a telemedicine startup. 

Join this conversation on how Grab is looking to build a fintech business beyond payments.