Grab Ventures said to earmark $100m for deals in Vietnam

Southeast Asian ride-hailing giant Grab, which will raise another $2 billion this year, is set to launch Grab Ventures in Vietnam this month with an allocation of $100 million.

The firm will invest in the burgeoning startup ecosystem in Vietnam to help nurture the next line of unicorns in the country.

Grab did not comment on the development for this story. It had on a call for the second intake of startups for the Grab Ventures Velocity programme indicated that it would undertake venture capital fund activity in Vietnam. It, however, did not specify a timeline.

The company’s plan follows an August 2018 announcement that Grab will invest $250 million in Indonesia through its venture capital arm.

With this, Vietnam will be the second country where Grab will be launching Grab Ventures outside its headquarters. It is understood that Grab Ventures has not hired a local investment team yet.

Last month, Grab said that it had started receiving applications from regional startups for its second Velocity batch programme. Velocity is Grab Ventures’ flagship scale-up programme for post-seed startups, while the fund invests in later-stage deals.

In June 2018, Grab launched Grab Ventures to focus on investments in sectors such as transportation, logistics, food and fintech across Southeast Asia. Grab’s venture capital activity in Vietnam will resemble the types of funding it has done so far, which include direct investments into startups as well as a partnership with government bodies, another person familiar with the development said.

In Singapore, it has partnered with the Info-communications Media Development Authority of Singapore, Enterprise Singapore, the Singapore Economic Development Board and EDBI.

Grab said while launching Grab Ventures in 2018 that it looked to partner with 8 to 10 growth-stage startups over the course of two years and may invest in select startups that exhibit strong synergies with the firm.

The venture arm has so far backed/ acquired Kudo, Drive.ai, iKaaz and HappyFresh. The VC fund has not made any investment in Vietnam yet. Grab had earlier invested in Vietnamese e-wallet Moca through a share swap with Moca’s early investors.

Jerry Lim, Vietnam country head for Grab, reportedly said in January this year that he expected Grab Ventures would come to Vietnam to provide stronger support for local startups.

Vietnam is increasingly garnering attention from regional investors in the tech space. In 2018, over half of the funding deals still remained pre-seed and seed rounds. Series A and B investments accounted for only about 25 per cent of the total deal counts, according to a Topica Founder Institute report.

With Grab Ventures, it will partly help narrow that gap.

Vietnam has become an important market for a lot of regional companies. In addition to basic transportation services, the ride-hailing decacorn has kicked off more financial services in Vietnam after acquiring Moca. Its local users are now allowed to top up mobile accounts and pay for purchases and bills.

Also Read:

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Singapore’s Grab: Decoding the math behind its valuation

Ride-hailing giant Grab in strategic pact with Vietnamese payments startup Moca

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.