Ride-hailing firm Grab invests in London startup Splyt in bid to transform into a 'super app'

Matthew Field
Grab will make an $8m investment in UK start-up Splyt - REUTERS

South East Asian ride-hailing giant Grab has taken a stake in London start-up Splyt to help develop its “super app” technology and allow more users to access its services.

Grab, a major Uber rival headquartered in Singapore and with operations across eight countries, announced an $8m (£6.2m) deal to invest in the transport software firm. It brings Splyt's total raised to more than $14m.

Founded in 2015, Splyt has developed software that allows anyone to book a driver from a ride-hailing company through the app of their choice.

Under the deal, Grab users traveling outside of Singapore will be able to book rides through the Grab app, and have them fulfilled by Splyt’s partners.

Splyt's software lets the fares be split between the local provider and the booking app. Travellers are able to book through the app in their home currency and using their own language.

Splyt has been working with other ride-hailing firms including Careem, which was recently acquired by Uber, Gett, and payments provider Alipay.

The UK start-up currently has a 50-strong team developing its technology, and its board of directors will be joined by Mark Porter, Grab's chief technology officer for transport.

Grab has already expanded its own services into food delivery and online payments. Until 2018, it was engaged in a battle for supremacy in Asia with Uber, before the US firm retreated from the markets and sold its South Asian business to Grab in exchange for a 27.5pc stake in the company.

Splyt chief executive Philipp Mintchin said the deal with Grab “caters to the demands and needs of global travellers” and would expand its coverage of Southeast Asia.