[MONEY20/20] Grab debuts micro financing JV

An Indonesian woman pays a Grab Bike taxi driver in Jakarta Indonesia Tuesday March 13

Speaking at the inaugural Money 20/20 conference, Mr Anthony Tan, co-founder and CEO of Grab, cited the example of Ibu Sumiati, an Indonesian lady with a small aquarium business who is keen to expand her business to three outlets, and how the new JV - Grab Financial Services Asia - could offer her the financing she needs to make it happen. Grab will offer loans to the underserved via a joint-venture with Credit Saison, the largest lender in Japan (the company now has about $70 million credit cards in circulation, TechCrunch reported today).

The firm added the JV will offer credit scoring services to financial institutes who can use the information to provide other services such as virtual credit cards as well as seeking constant partnership with other banks and financial institutions in Southeast Asia and beyond.

"Many in our region have no access to loans that they can use to purchase a new home or grow their small business".

The loan capability is possible thanks to the joint venture between Grab Financial and Credit Saison, one of Japan's largest consumer financing companies.

Grab is betting that its data on transport movements, geolocation, GrabPay transactions and consumer behavior will help in building benchmarks to assess customers' creditworthiness. The firm said its taxi app alone generates more than 5 million micro-entrepreneurs, including 2.6 million drivers.

Grab operates in eight countries in Southeast Asia and says its app has been downloaded on over 86 million mobile devices.

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Grab will also offer insurance policies to its 2.6 million drivers via partnership with USA -based insurer Chubb Ltd.

What's new with Grab Financial is the addition of loan and insurance services to individuals around in Southeast Asia.

Nobody has any data on them; the platform is all designed around them.

Using the Grab app, drivers will be able to select from different insurance options and will have the access of insurance policies such as loss to income insurance, per-ride schemes, personal accident policies, as well as motor insurance. "We want to ensure our driver-partners' hard work pays off, and that their income and livelihoods are protected", GrabPay South-east Asia managing director Jason Thompson said.

"Backed by Chubb's global insurance expertise, we are now able to bring this app-based insurance product for the first time to drivers across Southeast Asia".

Didi Chuxing, the biggest ride-hailing operator in China, a year ago teamed up with Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group Corp to lead a US$2.5 billion financing round in Grab. "Overall, this partnership is an exciting step in our digital strategy to meet growing insurance needs in Asia Pacific", McNamee said.

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