South East Asia

Grab CEO: No IPO Until Business Shows Profits

Grab, ride-hailing, southeast asia, IPO, Uber, GoJek, profits, startups, news

Grab Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Co-Founder Anthony Tan said the Southeast Asia ride-hailing platform will not launch an initial public offering (IPO) until the company is profitable, CNBC reported on Thursday (Nov. 14).

Tan said he anticipates additional markets will turn a profit in the next 12 months and some are already making money.

“Once we’re profitable, then we can clearly go to public when we want to,” Tan told CNBC. 

“We continue to see more markets getting … more profitable in many other cities, across the next 12 months.” 

Grab had a $14 billion valuation in March and in 2018 acquired Uber’s share of the Southeast Asia market. The sale gave Uber a 23.2 percent stake in Grab with 409 million shares.

Headquartered in Singapore, Grab is available in eight Southeast Asian countries, including Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand.

Grab has to go public by March 25, 2023, or Uber can exercise a cash redemption option, according to CNBC, which cited Uber’s IPO prospectus.

Over the next year, Grab will advance its developing business, which now offers food delivery, digital payments and digital content. The startup is also planning to earmark $150 million for additional research into artificial intelligence (AI).

Grab wants to be Southeast Asia’s all-in-one super app, toppling competitor Gojek. 

“We want to go from AI-powered to AI everywhere,” said Grab co-founder Tan Hooi Ling in a September interview at the Sooner Than You Think tech conference in Singapore.

Tan predicts that technology companies will create “great platforms that are very localized to the problem they’re trying to solve,” and in Grab’s particular sphere, “localized languages in Southeast Asia are very underserved.” 

Grab is also collaborating with Microsoft for improved natural language processing (NLP) that’s customized to users in different markets.

The expansion of 5G networks will be a catalyst for complex AI applications and futuristic technologies. Tan said Grab is concentrating on its customers’ most immediate needs. “We won’t just build AI for the sake of AI,” she said.

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