In its first major acquisition, Uber’s Southeast Asian arch-rival Grab has decided to purchase Indonesia-based online payment startup Kudo. The deal is expected to close with a price somewhere around (or under) $100 million and the announcement could come as early as this week.
This would be Grab’s second acquisition. The first one came when it acquired Chinese ride-sharing startup Youche in 2013. That particular deal however, failed to garner much publicity because one, Grab itself was a company in its early stages and two, the deal was done more with an eye towards the formation of the South Asian company’s China offices than as a strategic move.
Grab currently has a valuation in excess of $3 Billion. The company has recently committed to making a massive $700 million worth of investments in Indonesia, a market of vital strategic importance for Grab. One seventh, or $100 million of the total amount has been set aside for startups.
Grab has a significant presence in Indonesia and a lot of its focus is laid upon ensuring that the country’s 250 million+ population is able to pay for the variety of services they avail. It of course does not help that the majority of these citizens are un-banked. As such, the strategic importance of the Kudo acquisition can not be overstated.
In case you are unaware of it, Kudo is a three year old company that has its focus upon facilitating online transaction for those who don’t have access to basic payment amenities like mobile payments, modern banking, or credit cards. The company initially started off with a kiosk models wherein people could drop by its booths located in public areas and ask for online transactions. It later expanded to come upon an agent model that saw it send out tendrils in previously unexplored areas.
So now, authorized Kudo agents either attempt to market goods to customers or by stuff of their choice for them, online. Quite a novel idea for a country that has yet to bring modern payment amenities to over 80 percent of its populace.
The acquisition could also allow Grab to increase the reach of its own service. Meanwhile, there is no official word from any of the companies involved regarding the matter.