Grab Ventures, the venture arm of Southeast Asia’s ride-hailing giant Grab, has picked up a minority stake in grocery delivery startup HappyFresh, its head Chris Yeo confirmed. The investment was first reported by this portal in July.
Grab announced its foray into grocery delivery in July, as part of its ambition to become a one-stop “super app” for users in Southeast Asia. Its grocery delivery service, dubbed GrabFresh, was launched in partnership with HappyFresh.
In an interview on the sidelines of DEALSTREETASIA’s Asia PE-VC Summit 2018, Yeo said that the company prefers significant minority stakes and targets investments of about $5-15 million at Series A stage and onwards.
“If you’re talking about stage A and B companies, what’s best for the both of us is to take a minority stake first. We will then support them through our platform, networks and capital. Over time, if we see that there’s a great fit, we may go for a larger stake in them,” he said.
Earlier this month, this portal also reported that Grab has acquired a minority stake in Moca, a Vietnamese mobile payments firm. When asked about this investment, Yeo maintained that Moca is a strategic partner for Grab.
Grab has been securing several partnerships in recent months, targeting services such as online healthcare, news content and payments.
The ride-hailing giant is counting on its massive reach to attract startups to partner with it. Grab currently boasts a presence in eight countries and 235 cities across Southeast Asia.
“We know the difficulties of scaling across different countries. As such, we are willing to partner with higher risk startups because we’ve done it before and we know what they go through,” Yeo said.
The end goal for Grab Ventures however, may not necessarily be an acquisition of its portfolio companies.
During a fireside chat at the Asia PE-VC Summit 2018, Grab president Ming Maa said, “I’m negative about M&A in general. The purpose of Grab Ventures is to enable, not acquire and control companies. Moreover, the cost of acquisition is extremely high now. What we want to do is find ways to dramatically lower costs to enable growth.”
Yeo said that he sees significant potential for innovation across Grab’s target sectors – transportation, logistics, financial services and food.
“Even in transportation, our most matured business unit, we are just scratching the surface,” he said. “We see many interesting startups in autonomous driving, electric vehicles, battery sharing and different modes of transport. Private ride-hailing is still a very small portion compared to other modes of transport like buses and trains. All those areas are unaddressed by Grab right now.”
Since its launch, Grab Ventures has received over 300 startup enquiries which it plans to eventually narrow down to 8-10 investments over the next two years. Its partners include EDB, EDBI, Amazon Web Services and MDI Ventures. Grab is also working with regional investors and ecosystem players like Entrepreneur First to source for potential start-ups.
Last month, Grab announced that it is allocating $250 million to invest in startups in Indonesia, one of its core markets and the home base of its archrival Go-Jek. However, it declined to disclose how much it was allocating regionally.
Go-Jek, meanwhile, has also confirmed setting up its own venture arm, Go-Ventures. This portal was the first to report about the Indonesian ride-hailing major’s foray into venture capital in May this year. Go-Ventures is reported to have invested in local media startup Kumparan.