Grab launches a food delivery service in Southeast Asia

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Fresh from completing its acquisition of Uber’s Southeast Asia business, ride-hailing firm Grab has officially launched its food delivery business — GrabFood — today.

The service is already available in beta in a handful of countries, including Thailand, but now it is available in Singapore (Grab HQ) with plans to reach Grab’s core six markets in Southeast Asia in the coming months. As part of its acquisition of Uber Southeast Asia, Grab took charge of UberEats in the region and moved its merchants and customer base to GrabFood before shuttering the Uber service.

GrabFood is available as a standalone app in Singapore, but in countries where Grab offers motorbikes on-demand the service is integrated into the core Grab app. The service will compete against the likes of Deliveroo, FoodPanda, Go-Jek’s GoFood, and others.

The GrabFood service is also tied to Grab’s rewards and loyalty program — GrabRewards — and customers can use cash, cards or GrabPay to pay for their orders. Two notable features allow customers schedule orders in advance while there is also no minimum spend on orders.

Grab announced a deal to buy rival Uber’s local business in March, although the deal itself doesn’t seem to have progressed quite as smoothly as expected. As TechCrunch reported last month, a mixture of regulatory concerns, disgruntled employees scheduled to transition to Grab and consumer concern at the lack of competition have weighed on what is Grab’s coming-of-age moment.

Nonetheless, Grab said in a statement that its move into food delivery is an important part of its strategy to develop “an interconnected ecosystem of consumer services to make the everyday lives of people easier.”

Removing Uber may have made that goal more realistic, but Grab will face competition regionally after Go-Jek, the market leader in Indonesia that’s backed by the likes of Google and Tencent, confirmed plans to expand to four new markets imminently. Go-Jek is putting $500 million behind that expansion, which it said will be modeled on a partner approach that gives local founding teams full control of the business in each new country.

Rather than standing still, Grab is reported to be raising $1 billion in fresh funding at a valuation of $10 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal. That would represent a significant increase on the $6 billion valuation that Grab commanded when it gobbled up $2 billion from SoftBank and China’s Didi Chuxing last July.

Go-Jek, meanwhile, recently raised around $1.5 billion from a list of investors that include Tencent, JD.com, Google, Allianz, Meituan and Singapore-based funds GIC and Temasek.

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