Unicorns 51/229 – Grab
Founders: Anthony Tan and Tan Hooi Ling
Key people: Christian Co Pepito (CEO & Co-Founder), Wong Yi Jian (Co-Founder)
Number of employees: ~5000
Grab (formerly known as GrabTaxi) is a technology company that offers wide range of ride-hailing and logistics services through its app in Southeast Asia, specifically in Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia. As of July 2016, the number of drivers registered in the network was over 350,000, and the Grab app was downloaded onto more than 19 million mobile devices across Southeast Asia.
Originally established in 2012 as MyTeksi in Malaysia, GrabTaxi is Southeast Asia focused taxi-booking app founded by Harvard Business School graduates Anthony Tan and Tan Hooi Ling. The idea for GrabTaxi first started when Anthony Tan was a student at Harvard Business School and a classmate pulled him aside to gripe about how hard it was to hail a cab in Malaysia. Tan drew up a business plan for an Uber-like service that won backing from angel investors, leading the youngest of three brothers to quit the family business in 2012 to start GrabTaxi, a mobile application that assigns available cabs nearby to commuters using mapping and location-sharing technology. Tan pitched the idea to the panel of the 2011 Harvard Business Plan Competition, that led to them being placed second, making them the first all-Asian team to have succeeded in many years.