Grab Indonesia buys e-commerce startup Kudo

Ride-hailing firm Grab Indonesia has acquired e-commerce startup Kudo for an undisclosed amount, striking its first deal since pledging to invest US$700 million in its largest market.

Kudo helps consumers without bank accounts to shop online by connecting them with online merchants and other service providers across 500 cities and towns.

Based in Singapore, Grab says it plans to accelerate the expansion of Kudo’s network while bringing more riders and drivers on to its own platform. The two companies also plan to explore new financial products such as consumer loans and insurance.

Former payment-processing company Euronet Worldwide executive Jason Thompson has been hired by Grab to head GrabPay. This digital wallet for riders was introduced last year.

Grab’s Indonesian investment promise entails building its digital payments network over the next four years in a bid to win over the 260 million people in its largest market. The company’s car- and motorcycle-hailing businesses grew more than 600 per cent in Indonesia last year.

Valued at more than US$3 billion, Grab intends to set aside as much as US$100 million to bankroll early-stage domestic startups in mobile and financial services. It has started establishing research centres in Bangalore, Ho Chi Minh City and Jakarta to complement engineering offices in Beijing, Seattle and Singapore.

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