One of Southeast Asia's fastest-growing brands is accelerating its push into financial services, with the purchase of Singapore-based investment technology firm Bento. The robo-advisory startup uses technology to encourage investment and "democratise wealth management."
Bento will now be rebranded as 'GrabInvest', a new core business vertical under Grab’s financial-services arm, Grab Financial Group, led by Chandrima Das, the existing founder and CEO of Bento.
In a release, Grab said the deal will allow it to offer retail wealth-management solutions to users, driver-partners and merchant-partners, via the Grab app. New products will be launched on the app in the first half of the year in Singapore, then rolled out across Southeast Asia afterwards.
Grab Financial Group already offers some financial services across Southeast Asia in the form of payments (GrabPay), rewards (GrabRewards), lending (GrabFinance), and insurance (GrabInsure) to small business owners, driver-partners and users.
The rapid expansion of Grab's financial-services arm further signals its intention to become Southeast Asia's largest 'super app' combining on-demand transport, food and package delivery with financial solutions, while managing brand access to its ecoystem in the form of advertising and special promotions to users.
GrabInvest now marks the company's larger aims to open up access to retail wealth-management products for millions across Southeast Asia that were "traditionally limited to affluent individuals and institutional investors." It aims to do so by adopting a low-cost model, and making financial products easier for users to understand and transact, on a platform they are familiar with.
“The Bento and Grab Financial teams share a common vision to democratise investments for our customers irrespective of their wallet size," Das stated. "I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of the Grab ecosystem as we work together to make wealth management solutions serve the financial needs of millions of Southeast Asians."
Grab is not disclosing the amount it paid to acquire Bento.