Grab, the on-demand transportation and mobile payments platform in Southeast Asia has acquired Bengaluru-based startup iKaaz. With this, Grab is aiming to capture the rich functionality of iKaaz’ mobile payments platform.
Post acquisition, iKaaz’ leadership team will accelerate feature development and partner integration of GrabPay, Grab’s payments platform, at its Bengaluru R&D centre.
Launched in 2014, iKaaz’ was backed by Ananda Kallugadde, managing director of NeoBytes Software Solutions, who invested in the startup in the founding year.
Its technology stack encompasses a range of innovations, such as NFC, QR-code, audio-based payments as well as bill payments, online payments and P2P. The company’s technology had a comprehensive “Tap & Pay” product portfolio, which could transform any mobile phone, irrespective of the type of device or the mobile operator, into a cashless payment terminal by placing an iKaaz NFC tag on it.
“This rich set of offline payments features offers the flexibility needed to tailor our GrabPay platform to each country and partner in Southeast Asia. We look forward to leveraging the expertise of iKaaz’ leadership team and build GrabPay into SEA’s universal payments platform together,” said Jason Thompson, Managing Director, GrabPay Southeast Asia.
Earlier reports also surfaced that Grab was in advanced stages to buy an Indonesian payments startup Kudo.
Founded in 2011, Grab has expanded its operations in six countries Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. The taxi-hailing platform had also opened an R&D centre in Bengaluru, earlier this year.
In the last one year, Grab has raised $2 Bn funds majorly from Chinese ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing (DiDi) and Japanese telecom conglomerate SoftBank Group.
The most recent funding round included $700 Mn in debt financing from unnamed global and regional banks. The company has also entered into an exclusive partnership with SMRT, Singapore’s premier multi-modal land transport provider, to build the largest and most advanced fleet in Singapore.
As claimed by Grab, the platform already facilitates more than 3.5 Mn transactions daily and facilitates over a billion transactions per year. Grab’s Bengaluru R&D centre, one of six globally, currently counts 75 engineers, with Grab planning to hire 200 engineers in total by end of 2018.
Grab majorly competes with Indonesia-based GoJek, which is currently banking on its digital wallet Go-Pay. Earlier in December 2017, Go-Jek also acquired three payment startups namely Kartuku, Midtrans, and Mapan, to boost its payment vertical.