PayPal said to be in talks to join Grab’s $3b funding round

Grab and PayPal logos displayed side by side in respective branding. Photos: Reuters

Payments processor PayPal is in advanced talks to join ride-hailing and payments unicorn Grab’s ongoing $3-billion Series H funding round, according to sources aware of the development.

The quantum of investment to be made by PayPal is not clear. However, its participation in the discussions has sparked interest among other potential investors. If these discussions go through, the funding round may end up topping $3.2 billion by the end of this year, said an executive aware of the fundraising discussions.

PayPal did not respond to a request for comment. Grab, meanwhile, declined to comment for this story.

PayPal had in May announced a partnership with Indonesia-based venture capital firm Alpha JWC to back fintech startups in Southeast Asia. Earlier this year, the US company had joined Singapore’s Temasek to invest $125 million in Indian payments startup Pine Labs. Its other portfolio companies include fintech startup Dosh, fraud prevention firm Arkose Labs and European banking app Monese.

Grab, meanwhile, is seeking to round off a year of aggressive fundraising. Grab president Ming Maa first revealed Grab’s $3-billion fundraising target in September, after pocketing $2 billion from investors like Toyota and OppenheimerFunds.

Since then, the Singapore-headquartered company has secured investments from Microsoft, Booking Holdings, Hyundai Motor, Kasikorn Bank and United Overseas Bank (UOB). According to DEALSTREETASIA‘s calculations, the total amount raised so far is about $2.75 billion. Grab is also reported to be valued at $11 billion, making it Southeast Asia’s first decacorn.

The latest investors on Grab’s cap table bring new and diverse “value-add” to its business.

Since Grab’s acquisition of rival Uber’s Southeast Asia operations earlier this year, the Southeast Asian firm has been actively growing its presence in new verticals beyond its core business of ride-hailing. This includes areas such as food delivery, payments, logistics, news content and online healthcare.

Its latest list of investors either serve to strengthen existing areas such as payments (Kasikorn Bank, UOB), increase new “consumer touch-points” such as travel (Booking Holdings), or invest in long-term urbanisation trends such as electric vehicles, big data and AI (Microsoft, Hyundai).

Grab has also been forging new alliances to strengthen its position in areas such as financial services. In October, it announced a partnership with MasterCard to introduce physical and virtual prepaid cards in the region.

In June, Grab also launched Grab Ventures and Grab Velocity, its venture building and accelerator arms. These units create a system that grants Grab access to new verticals via strategic partnerships and investments.

Last week, Grab unveiled the first batch of its Grab Velocity programme, comprising five startups in sectors that it has yet to penetrate, including entertainment, education and home improvement.

Grab wants to be the everyday “super-app” for Southeast Asia, a concept that its rival, Go-Jek, first championed.

During DEALSTREETASIA’s PE-VC Summit in September, Ming Maa acknowledged that imitation isn’t just the best form of flattery. Imitation is everyone’s game.

“I think, to be honest, Uber was first in the market and we imitated a lot of Uber’s services, just like how Alibaba imitated Amazon,” said Maa. “I think the key is not imitation, but how do you make it relevant and right for your customers.”

Rival Go-Jek has also been reported to be in fundraising talks with the likes of Google, Tencent and JD.com to raise $1.5-2 billion. The financing is expected to catapult its valuation to $9-10 billion, this portal had earlier reported.

Also Read:

Grab secures $50m funding from KASIKORNBANK, marks entry of payments biz in Thailand

Grab lands $250m from Hyundai and Kia, ups Series H round total to $2.7b

Grab snags $200m funding from US travel firm Booking

Microsoft invests in Southeast Asian ride-hailing major Grab

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.