The Jakarta Post
The super app Grab has announced that applications for the third batch of its Grab Ventures Velocity program, an incubation initiative for local startups to scale up their businesses with a focus on empowering Indonesia’s micro culinary and logistics enterprises.
Therefore, applicants eligible for the program are startups which provide digital solutions for small-to-medium entrepreneurs (SMEs), especially those working in the culinary and logistics sector. The incubation program allows these startups to leverage their businesses by giving them open access to Grab’s whole ecosystem.
Applications are now open for startup businesses across Indonesia and Southeast Asia, successful applicants will join a mentorship program facilitated by C-level experts in the startup sector. The application form can be accessed online via ventures.grab.com and tinyurl.com/gvvbatch3.
Aside from the Batch 3 launch, Grab also announce a partnership between Grab Ventures and state-owned lender Bank Rakyat Indonesia’s (BRI) BRI Ventures, the bank’s venture capital arm to create new joint initiatives to elevate the Indonesia startup community. Both entities will bring together Grab and BRI’s ecosystem to create unique growth opportunities for new-age Indonesian startups.
Participants of the incubation program are expected to, along with their micro-enterprise partners, grow their businesses, reduce costs and ease their operational procedures by making use of new frontiers of the digital technology.
Indonesian Cooperatives and Small-to-Medium Enterprises Minister Teten Masduki responded positively to the program, citing SMEs key role is the backbone to the Indonesian economy, thus requiring ongoing empowerment.
According to a report by The Jakarta Post, Indonesia’s approximately 62.9 million SMEs accounted for 99.9 percent of total businesses in 2017, and yet they are hampered mostly by a lack of funding.
“Supported by technology, I hope the SMEs will be able to develop and expand their businesses. Through the Grab Ventures Velocity program, I also await the emergence of potential startups which can provide digital solutions for SMEs, especially ones in culinary, to grow their businesses, reduce costs and ease their operational procedures,” Teten said.
As a context, Grab provides on-demand transportation services in the Southeast Asian region, including food and goods delivery, as well as digital payment and other financial services across more than 349 cities in eight countries.
In its business, Grab involves a network of nine million micro-entrepreneurs which includes driver-partners, agents and merchants.
Meanwhile, to demonstrate its commitment to empowering micro-enterprises to leverage their businesses, at least in Indonesia, Grab also focuses in partnering with the country’s small food vendors – essential since street food is much beloved by Indonesians – besides also partnering with the big restaurants.
As a matter of fact, GrabKitchen is currently collecting data on these small-to-medium vendors on its cloud kitchen data computational system to make them accessible for online delivery.
Grab also works closely with small kiosks (locally known as warungs) to provide online goods delivery and phone credit top-up services available to users.
Successful applicants of the program’s third batch are expected to follow the successes of their predecessors, like TaniHub and Qoala, which joined the program’s second batch. The previous two batches of the program incubated 15 startups in total; 10 of them are from Indonesia.
TaniHub is an Indonesian agriculture e-commerce platform aiming at improving the supply chain and distribution of agricultural products to a larger market. Through the program, TaniHub has helped individuals and SMEs in Indonesia by giving them access to proper funding.
Qoala, meanwhile, is an insurance technology startup which has been integrated into GrabKios application, protecting GrabKios partners, which are small kiosks via various microinsurance products.
Specifically, participants of the program are expected to conduct business-to-business logistics as well as restaurant value-added services for the country’s micro-enterprises, which are among Grab’s primary partners.
“Upon graduating from the Grab Ventures Velocity program’s second batch, TaniHub has been able to partner with GrabKios partners to provide them access to affordable and fresh produce from local farmers,” says TaniHub president and co-founder Pamitra Wineka.
Meanwhile, Qoala co-founder and chief operating officer Tommy Martin added that tapping into Grab’s ecosystem during the Grab Ventures Velocity program allowed his organization to reach segments that it previously could not access to offer its microinsurance products.
Success stories: Successful participants of previous batches of the Grab Ventures Velocity incubation program, including microinsurance provider Qoala cofounder and chief operating officer Tommy Martin (second right) and agricultural products distribution app TaniHub president and cofounder Pamitra Wineka (third right), share how Grab Indonesia’s incubation program has helped them during a panel discussion. (./.)
Commenting on Indonesia’s thriving startup scene, Communications and Information Minister Johnny G. Plate said that the Grab Ventures Velocity became a timely initiative amid the emergence of big unicorns in Southeast Asia. Unicorns refer to startups with a valuation of US$1 billion.
“With proper ecosystem and sustained support from the government, the grooming of new digital talents in the country can become key to local startup growth,” Johnny asserted.
The GVV initiative is aligned with Grab’s vision to integrate social empowerment initiatives with its business growth, reflected in its campaign #GrabForGood. Basically, #GrabForGood encapsulates Grab Indonesia’s commitment to use technology as a driving force of goodness to improve people’s quality of life amid Grab’s rapid growth in Southeast Asia. Grab believes that this initiative is vital to push Southeast Asia forward to more impressive growth in the future.