GrabTaxi, the Uber rival in Southeast Asia backed by SoftBank and China’s Didi Kuaidi, will be now be known as “Grab” after the company announced a rebranding today alongside a few new services.
The company said its new name reflects the fact that it no longer only offers licensed taxi rides, the service that it started out working with. And that’s indeed true. Over the past year or two, it has expanded its offerings to include private cars (GrabCar), motorbike taxis (GrabBike), delivery (GrabExpress) and — most recently — carpooling with GrabHitch. In addition, the company was still known as MyTeksi in Malaysia, where it originated, so that confusion will be removed, too.
“We’ve grown over the years — and we’re now much more than a taxi app. This new brand is an important evolution that represents our goal to outserve our customers. We are not only providing passengers with a transport service, we are saving them time and ensuring they have a safe ride,” Anthony Tan, Group CEO and Co-Founder of Grab, said in a statement.
According to its latest numbers, Grab — which is valued at over $1 billion based on past funding rounds — has over 200,000 drivers on its platform with more than 11 million app downloads to date across it six markets in Southeast Asia.
Beyond the new name — which, to be honest, I’m not a big fan of since “grab” is a fairly arbitrary term that’s ripe for humor — the company also officially announced a service for corporate customers, which had been in beta, and its cashless payment service, which had also been in trial. Cashless payments will initially be supported in Singapore, with Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia added in February and Thailand and Vietnam “in the first half of 2016”.
Finally, the service itself has been tweaked with Grab telling us that it now includes an auto-retry feature for when a booking isn’t made immediately, better driver tracking, and ‘flash’ — a service that automatically scans all rides types in the area to faster find “the best vehicle for users” in their locality.
Earlier this month, Grab announced an office in Seattle aimed at supplementing its team in Southeast Asia with talent from the U.S.