Speaking at the inaugural Money 20/20 conference, Mr Anthony Tan, co-founder and CEO of Grab, cited the example of Ibu Sumiati, an Indonesian lady with a small aquarium business who is keen to expand her business to three outlets, and how the new JV - Grab Financial Services Asia - could offer her the financing she needs to make it happen.
Through the joint venture company, named Grab Financial Services Asia, Grab and Credit Saison will combine to provide loans and lending services to unbanked and underbanked consumers, micro-entrepreneurs and small businesses across Southeast Asia.
Ride-hailing service Grab is being heavily linked with a deal to buy out Uber's business in Southeast Asia, but those rumors aren't stopping it from building its fintech platform after announced a financial services unit.
Managing director of GrabPay Southeast Asia Jason Thompson said in a separate media briefing on Tuesday that Ibu Sumiati only has a rolling credit of funds to last 24 hours, so if a robbery happens, her business closes. From working with governments, to taxi operators and financial institutions, Grab's open-market model is aimed at making transport and transactions safer, more affordable, and more reliable.
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Grab operates in eight countries in Southeast Asia and its app has been downloaded on more than 86 million mobile devices.
With both the involvement with Grab and Shopback, arguably two of the most used consumer platforms in Southeast Asia, Credit Saison will have access to consumer habits, spending behaviours as well as financial insights of the Southeast Asia population. We are excited to have a partner such as Chubb with whom we share this vision. It will be interesting to see how Grab plans to use its resources to capitalise on Southeast Asia's potential while solving problems unique to the region, such as difficulties in establishing accurate credit scores.
"Backed by Chubb's global insurance expertise, we are now able to bring this app-based insurance product for the first time to drivers across South-east Asia". Initial offerings include accident, hospitalisation and other critical insurance coverage to Grab's 2.6 million drivers, accessible through the driver app.
On the other hand, the insurance capability of Grab Financial is done through a partnership with Chubb, the world's largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company.
According to the press statement, the new partnership is an extension of Grab's long-term commitment to improve driver welfare. "Overall, this partnership is an exciting step in our digital strategy to meet growing insurance needs in Asia Pacific". The company is investing in product innovation, analytics and technology to provide a truly "anytime-anywhere" customer experience for its clients and distribution partners.