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Grab to Get $700m from MUFG to Offer Insurance, Lending by Smartphone App

Photo by Kelly Lacy from Pexels

Grab, the Singapore-based ride-hailing company well en route to becoming a full-fledged fintech, as well, will get $700 million in new funding from MUFG Bank according to the Nikkei. The investment will be part of a collaboration designed to bring services like lending and insurance to markets in Southeast Asia via smartphone apps. MUFG Bank is a subsidiary of Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group.

The Nikkei report has not been confirmed by MUFG or Grab, but Bloomberg notes in its coverage that the firms “intend to announce their alliance soon.” The partnership allegedly will consist of MUFG Bank overseeing lending and insurance operations, while Grab will leverage its AI and data analysis technology to analyze customer data to help MUFG match the right insurance and financing offerings with the right customers.

Grab is one of the top examples of a company leveraging its analytics and networking technology to expand beyond its original offering. Founded as a ride-hailing service in 2012, Grab is now developing a regional super app that combines a variety of services – including payments and financial services – along with rides. With a reported 166 million downloads in the region, the company operates in eight Southeast Asian countries, including Indonesia and Thailand. Grab has an estimated valuation of $14 billion, and includes SoftBank Group among its investors.

Ratna Sita Handayani, Senior Research Manager with Euromonitor International discussed the rise of the super app during her presentation at FinovateEurope earlier this month. Other examples of super apps in Asia include Tencent’s WeChat and Alibaba’s Alipay. Like Grab, Indonesia super app Gojek leverages its role in the everyday transportation lives of its consumers to expand its offerings – in Gojek’s case, for food delivery, hiring cleaning help, and billpay.