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In 2012, the Tokyo Skytree opened to the public and Queen Elizabeth celebrated her 60th year on the throne. The first Avengers movie topped the year-end box office along with Skyfall, Christopher Nolan’s final Batman, the first Hunger Games, and the last Twilight. (Bes, aminin mo na na pinanuod mo yung trainwreck na yun.) Barrack Obama was re-elected into the White House while somebody else was taking up residence in Malacanang. June of that year, Anthony Tan quit his position in their family business, and teamed up with fellow Harvard Business School graduate Tan Hooi Ling to start MyTeksi. It was an offshoot of a project Tan had at school, the idea for which came from a conversation he had with a friend, who shared difficulties of booking a cab in Malaysia.

MyTeksi then became Grab Taxi, and then eventually Grab, which has evolved into a growing tech behemoth that caters solely to Southeast Asia. It entered our market a year later along with Singapore and Thailand. Back then, it might have looked something like this:

Please give us a moment as we reminisce the days when we had that many car icons showing up on our screen. Such a beautiful memory, bes.

Joke lang. Or not really.

Anyway, just how big Grab is today? Let’s roll out some stats shall we: 100 million downloads, 7.1 million, 225 cities, eight countries, and, get this, 2 billion rides.

That last number represent a meteoric rise. They hit 1 billion only last October, five years after they launched. “It took us damn long to get here. Fast forward, in only nine months, we’ve crossed 2 billion,” Anthony says. “We’re also very happy to share that we will be the first company that we know of in Southeast Asia that will cross the 1 billion fiscal revenue mark.”

As most of us noticed, mga mumsh, the Grab home screen has changed a lot over the years. The company has shifted from concerning itself from shuttling commuters and parcels all over the region to more of a lifestyle app, or an “everyday superapp” as they like to call it.

These include a slew of released in the last few years, including Rewards, Pay, and, more recently, Grab Daily, which is a feed of suggestions attuned to your riding behavior. Tipong pagbinuksan mo yung app bes, yung lalabas sa feed mo e “Restaurants and events near your ex.” Because alam ni Bathala na pinupuntahan mo pa rin siya para umasa.


The company recently upped the ante as it unveiled more developments in a regional launch in Singapore, the biggest being its introduction of Grab Platform. It is basically a suite of application programming interfaces (or API) that gives access to components of Grab’s tech including transport, logistics, payments, user authentication, messaging, insights and mapping.

“Southeast Asia is set to be the fourth largest economy by 2050. More people are moving into the middle class, technology infrastructure is catching up, and companies must adapt fast to shifting emerging market opportunities,” Anthony explains. “Combining Grab’s assets with the specialized expertise of our partners will enable us all to grow most efficiently and quickly to serve more customers daily.”

It’s a mutually beneficial setup: Grab gets to provide more services to its users and reinforce its everyday superapp tag while it gives its partners more reach over the region. Case in point their collaboration with grocery delivery provider HappyFresh to create the Grab Fresh service in its app. This means, if you have Grab Fresh, puwede ka umorder ng ampalaya through your phone habang naghihintay kang sunduin ng Grab Share mo bilang inandiyan ka na naman ng date mo at uuwi kang luhaan.

For us in the Philippines, Grab Fresh isn’t available yet, just like Grab Platform. They’re looking at sometime within 2018-2019 to finally get it going here. The app will be launching a new look UI interface locally by Q3 though. By then, the app opens up to Grab Daily first instead of going straight to transport, emphasizing its goal of being more well-rounded.

Here’s a video of Tan explaining Grab Platform some more:

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