Grab Holdings has acquired Singapore's robo-advisory startup Bento for an undisclosed sum.
The move will let Grab begin to offer retail wealth management services to users, driver and merchant partners via the Grab app, according to an emailed press release. The move will re-brand Bento as GrabInvest from here on out as products are launched via the Grab app in 2020 and beyond.
GrabInvest will be under the banner of Grab's financial arm, led by the founder and CEO of Bento, Chandrima Das.
Grab's financial services sector currently operates in Southeast Asia, with services like payments offered by GrabPay, rewards with GrabRewards, lending with GrabFinance, and insurance with GrabInsure. The company serves a long list of micro-entrepreneurs, small business owners, driver partners and users in the region.
With GrabInvest, the company will strive to democratize access to retail wealth management services. That will provide individuals the opportunity to save and invest in financial services in the manner typically reserved for wealthier citizens and investors, the press release states.
To do this, GrabInvest plans to utilize a low-cost model to emphasize affordability. They'll use a well-known platform to make sure people know how to use the service. They say they'll be transparent and look to provide accountability, and will meet the standards in the region that have become trusted over the years.
Bento's methods for its digital wealth platform included client onboarding, portfolio construction, and rebalancing supported by risk management tactics, in order to achieve the goal of helping everyday people manage their finances.
The news comes as Grab is one of the numerous entities in the region trying to apply for a digital banking license in Malaysia. Grab faces competition from rival Ant Financial and others. The central bank in Malaysia wants to venture into the world of digital banking, and they will give preference to firms that have capital in the region.