Ride-hailing firm Grab; the company that acquired Uber’s Southeast Asia business has launched an investment unit and startup accelerator named Grab Ventures. According to the company, Grab Ventures will primarily focus on early-stage startups in Southeast Asia.
Founded in 2012, Grab has already made a number of acquisitions and investments. It has backed startups like Drive.ai and acquired startups like iKaaz (India) and Kudo (Indonesia). Grab Ventures will add to these existing investments by making 8 to 19 new investments over the next 24 months.
Additionally, Grab Ventures will also have an accelerator program for “growth-stage” companies. Dubbed Velocity, this accelerator program will go live by the end of 2018 and it will support six companies per batch.
“It’s time for us to reflect on the tremendous support we’ve seen over the years and give back to the community,” said Chris Yeo, Head of Grab Ventures, in an interview with TechCrunch. He added, “We have a responsibility to empower the next generation of startups in Southeast Asia. We have a strong belief in taking a partnership approach; we know we can’t do it alone.”
Unlike most other accelerator programs, Velocity won’t confine itself to any particular sector or category of startups. The idea is to give emerging business a platform to capitalize on Grab’s diverse range of businesses that include taxi service, food delivery, mobile payments, and other financial services.