Grab announced that it has opened two new R&D centers in Bangalore, India and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, significantly expanding its global R&D capabilities and doubling its number of R&D centers from three to six in the last quarter.
To keep pace with Grab’s rapid growth, Grab Singapore will be moving to a larger office space of almost 100,000 square feet in Singapore’s Central Business District. Grab also announced that it will be adding more than 800 new R&D jobs in the next two years across Grab’s six R&D centers in Beijing, Bangalore, Jakarta, Vietnam, Singapore and Seattle.
The expansion will support Grab’s rapidly growing multi-modal transport platform and proprietary payments system across Southeast Asia, which includes the launch of three new transport services in the last quarter, GrabShare, GrabCoach and GrabShuttle, as well as the rollout of GrabRewards, a customer loyalty program.
Currently, Grab says it operates in 39 cities across six countries, with over 710,000 drivers in its network. With over 36 million mobile downloads of the Grab app to date, Grab has 95% market share of third-party taxi-hailing apps and more than 50% market share in private cars in the markets in which it operates.
“At Grab, we are focused on solving the toughest local problems through technology. Southeast Asia is developing at a breakneck pace and we have an unprecedented opportunity to deliver a platform that caters to the region’s mobile-first environment and infrastructural needs, said Grab co-founder Tan Hooi Ling. “Addressing such challenges requires a combination of deep local understanding and best-in-class engineering. Our philosophy is to develop our highly localized products in the countries where our consumers live, while tapping into the best specialized tech talent around the world to enhance the user experience and efficiency and effectiveness of our platform.”
As Grab develops its products, it leverages a model of distributed engineering teams to access specific sets of expertise in each of its R&D centers, such as machine learning, predictive data analytics, mobile-first technology, and consumer-focused user experience.
Grab’s R&D center in Singapore, which started in a 4,500 square foot office in April 2015, will move to a larger office space of almost 100,000 square feet in Singapore’s Central Business District. As Grab’s largest R&D center, it continues to drive development of the app based on local market research, and introduce new services and features that improve the user experience.
Grab’s new R&D center in India will be located on Indira Nagar, in the heart of Bangalore, India’s Silicon Valley. The new center will house up to 200 talented engineers, who will focus on developing new payments technologies for GrabPay, Grab’s digital payments platform, that will deepen financial inclusion and increase access to mobile payments across Southeast Asia. Grab has made two early hires, Raghuram Trikutam, the Head of Engineering, Mobile Payments and Ruchika Sharma, Head of Human Resources.
Grab’s new R&D center in Vietnam will be located in Ho Chi Minh City, which will capitalize on the thriving pool of engineering talent in Vietnam. Our Ho Chi Minh City engineers will tap into their country-specific expertise to create in-app user experiences tailored to our users in Vietnam, as well as enhance the experiences for users across the region.
Following its recent one-year anniversary in January, Grab’s Seattle office will be expanding to a larger office of more than 6,500 square feet Columbia Center, located in Seattle’s central business district, which will provide space for 60 engineers. Led by Microsoft veteran Raman Narayanan, the Seattle team has developed the technology behind one of the company’s key products, GrabShare, Grab’s private carpooling service, as well as enhancements around user trust and data management.