Asia PE-VC Summit 2020: How Grab and Gojek are preparing for a post-pandemic world

(Left to right) Gojek's Chief Food Officer Catherine Sutjahyo, Grab president Ming Maa, and Gojek's Group Head of Transport Raditya Wibowo.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused demand for rides-hailing to plummet by double-digit rates around the world. In Southeast Asia, two decacorns Grab and Gojek — have faced tremendous pressure to stay afloat during the crisis.

In June, Grab laid off about 360 employees, citing the stark impact of COVID-19 on its businesses and the foreseen prolonged recession. Meanwhile, Gojek terminated about 430 employees.

Even before the COVID-19 crisis rocked the region, Southeast Asia’s ride-hailing giants had already been struggling to assure investors that they could reach profitability, with SoftBank and other backers from both sides reportedly pushing for a merger.

But the latest figures released by the two decacorns indicate that they are on a strong path to profitability, despite the COVID-19 outbreak.

Last month, Singapore’s Grab said its third-quarter revenue stood at more than 95 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, while Indonesia’s Gojek clocked a 10 per cent year-on-year increase in gross transaction value to $12 billion this year.

With their ride-hailing businesses hit hard by the crisis, Grab, now valued at over $15 billion, and Gojek, valued at about $11-12 billion, turned to other branded services for growth, such as payments. But can the services outside ride-hailing sustain the growth of the region’s two decacorns?

We have put together two exclusive fireside chats with the Southeast Asian ride-hailing giants at DealStreetAsia’s PE-VC Summit 2020 on November 24-25.

Grab’s superapp strategy

A superapp, or multi-service strategy, appears to have stood companies such as Grab in good stead as an uptick in offerings such as food delivery and payments helped offset the decline in ride-hailing services.

With some of the shifts in consumer behaviour caused by the pandemic likely to linger, how is Grab preparing for a post-COVID-19 world? Hear from Grab president Ming Maa in a fireside chat with DealStreetAsia’s senior writer Kristie Neo.

The road ahead for Gojek

Much like other ride-hailers across the world, Gojek’s business was hit hard by pandemic-related lockdowns. While its food delivery, health tech, and payment services gained traction during the last few months, the super app was forced to shutter some services.

Our Indonesia correspondent Ardi Wirdana will talk to Gojek’s Chief Food Officer Catherine Sutjahyo and Group Head of Transport Raditya Wibowo, to know how the ride-hailing giant is coping up with the pandemic and the road that lies ahead, in a fireside chat on the second day of the summit.

Register here to attend both sessions at the Asia PE-VC Summit 2020.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.