Grab was started by Anthony Tan and Tan Hooi Ling, who met as students at Harvard Business School. The seed capital of USD 107,000 was provided by the two founders.
Vertex Holdings (a wholly owned subsidiary of Temasek) invested in the first institutional venture capital round in 2014 with supposedly a USD$10m investment. A USD$15m second round of fund raising was raised soon afterwards. Grab’s early investors included GGV capital which backed Didi Kuaidi in China and Tiger Global.
By the end of 2014, Grab had entered the big leagues: Softbank upped the ante and invested USD250 million. At that time, Grab also said it had more than 500,000 active users and 60,000 taxi drivers in its network.
By August 2015, Grab raised yet another USD350 million, led by US VC firm Coatue Management, China Investment Corporation (CIC) and Didi. At this point, according to the Wall Street Journal, Grab’s valuation was in the region of USD1.6 bn to USD1.8bn and Grab had raised approximately USD 700 million up to this stage.
In August 2016, Techcrunch.com suggested from sighting internal documents that Grab was forecasted to burn USD 111 million in Q3 2015 (USD 35 million a month). By September 2016, Grab confirmed that it had raised USD 750 million in new capital led by Softbank. Honda in December 2016 announced an undisclosed investment in Grab as part of this same round. Techcrunch suggested that the post-money valuation after this round was USD 3 billion.
In March 2017, Grab said it plans to raise more than USD 1.5 billion in a new funding round backed by Softbank again.