Grab bags investment from Experian to spruce up consumer financial services

Grab on Friday announced a new investment from consumer credit giant Experian as part of its ongoing Series H funding round, a week after a $300-million financing by US-based investment manager Invesco.

Terms of the investment were not disclosed. In a statement, Experian said that both companies “seek to improve access to mobility-enabled solutions and financial services for underbanked consumers in Southeast Asia”.

Grab has earlier said that it aims to raise $6.5 billion for the Series H round, which is expected to close by the end of this year. The round has seen more than $4.5 billion capital injected, including a whopping $1.46-billion funding by Japanese business magnate Masayoshi Son’s SoftBank Vision Fund.

Meanwhile, Experian’s investment in Grab is its fourth in Asia, which is home to an unbanked population of over 1 billion people. The London-headquartered firm has backed fintech companies Jirnexu in Malaysia, Bankbazaar in India and Singapore-based C88.

“Our mission has always been centred around helping the unbanked and underbanked population gain financial access with the use of data,” said Dev Dhiman, managing director for Southeast Asia and emerging markets at Experian. “Through leveraging data insights and collaboration with local partners, such as Grab, we aim to better understand and meet the financial needs of unbanked and underbanked consumers in the region.”

Experian said the strategic partnership will sharpen the way Grab customises its offerings for users, which includes improving access to loans for aspiring entrepreneurs across the region.

“We are proud to have Experian join our growing list of strategic investors who are convinced that they should join hands with Grab to unlock more opportunities for the unbanked and underserved communities to use our mobility-enabled solutions and financial services on the Grab Platform, enabling our customers to gain access to the digital economy and improve their livelihoods,” commented Grab Financial senior managing director Reuben Lai.

Experian is present in 39 countries, with its venture capital arm, Experian Ventures, located in Silicon Valley, Singapore, London and Brazil. It invests in startups developing innovative consumer and business solutions for data creation, analytics and machine learning and information security.

Last month, Grab confirmed that it was mulling a spin-off of its payment and financial services units. DealStreetAsia had earlier reported that the Southeast Asian ride-hailing major was in talks with Ant Financial to raise funding for its financial services arm.