Grab, which began in a KL warehouse, has just been ranked second most innovative company in the world

The Straits Times

2019 is looking to be a year of new highs for Singapore-based Grab.

In just six years, the tech company has transformed its small start-up operating out of a warehouse in Kuala Lumpur, into Southeast Asia’s first decacorn in process of building a S$181.2 million headquarters in Singapore.

The US$1 billion company (in revenue) is now considered well on its way to building the region’s best “superapp”.

And the world is taking notice.

Read also: Grab, SEA’s first ‘decacorn’, has mopped up 25% of investments in the region’s internet economy since 2015

On Thursday (Feb 21), Grab announced that it had been named the second most innovative company in the world by Fast Company. The American business magazine also put Grab at the top of the list in the category of transport.

According to Fast Company, Grab is second only to Meituan Dianping, a lifestyle booking and delivery app in China which facilitated 27.7 billion transactions in the first six months of 2018 alone.

Read also: Grab, Go-Jek wage street fight for SE Asia ‘super-app’ supremacy

In its write-up explaining the results, Fast Company said that both superapp makers “are changing the lives of hundreds of millions of consumers and millions of merchants with highly complex operations disguised as simple transactions“.

Explosive growth over six years

Originally a taxi and ride-hailing rival of Uber in Southeast Asia, Grab has now expanded its array of functions to include delivery, digital payments and financial services across 336 cities across eight countries. It is set to add healthcare services in the later part of the year, in partnership with Chinese health tech giant Ping An.

It has seven global R&D centers – in Singapore, Beijing, Bangalore, Seattle, Jakarta, Ho Chi Minh City and Kuala Lumpur – and an open platform called GrabPlatform that supports other local developers and services.

Last year proved to be a year full of milestones for the company, with the acquisition of Uber’s Southeast Asia business in March being one of its biggest highlights.

According to Grab, it achieved 62 per cent market share in Indonesia by Q3, and its GrabFood business grew over 10 times over the course of 2018.

Read also: Grab just launched GrabPet Beta – prices start at S$14, including insurance for pets on board

A Series H funding effort raised US$3 billion and added more big name partners such as Mastercard, Hyundai, Toyota and Booking.com.

“We are humbled to be recognized for innovation alongside an impressive cohort of global companies,” said Tan Hooi Ling, who co-founded Grab with its CEO Anthony Tan.

“I am proud of the work our teams are doing to build a more digitally and financially inclusive Southeast Asia. It is a huge opportunity and responsibility, and one that we take seriously,” she added.

Other companies on the top 10 are:

#3 – NBA

#4 – The Walt Disney Company

#5 – Stitch Fix

#6 – Sweetgreen

#7 – Apeel Sciences

#8 – Square

#9 – Oatly

#10 – Twitch

Other tech giants Alibaba Group and Apple were ranked 15 and 17 respectively.