In order to become the region’s universal payments platform, Southeast Asian ride-hailing firm Grab has acquired Bangalore-based payments startup iKaaz. The company wants to utilize the rich functionality of iKaaz’ mobile payments platform and its experienced leadership team to accelerate the feature development and partner integration of its payments platform.
Launched in 2014, iKaaz’ technology was built to work in India’s challenging internet conditions and enable effortless and fast payments for thousands of merchants. Ikaaz’ technology stack encompasses a range of innovations, such as NFC, QR-code, audio-based payments as well as bill payments, online payments and P2P. This flexibility and scalability make it ideally suited for Southeast Asia’s diverse payments landscape and large unbanked population.
“iKaaz’ technology has served merchants and partners across different industries and in different settings, from parking lots and airports to retail stores and hotels. This rich set of offline payments features offers the flexibility needed to tailor our GrabPay platform to each country and partner in Southeast Asia,” said Jason Thompson, Managing Director, GrabPay Southeast Asia.
Following the completion of the acquisition, the Ikaaz team will join Grab’s Bangalore R&D centre, adding valuable experience and knowledge. The iKaaz leadership team brings onboard experience from respected payment startups such as Nokia Money and Obopay.
“Our team has worked tirelessly towards bringing more people into the cashless economy. By partnering with Grab, we now have an opportunity to see how our tech can improve the lives of Southeast Asia’s more than 620 million people and its growing digital economy,” added Soma Sundaram, Founder of iKaaz.
As Grab continues to transform from Southeast Asia’s largest on-demand transportation platform towards the region’s #1 consumer internet platform, GrabPay has seen explosive growth in its services. Today, the Grab platform already facilitates more than 3.5 million transactions daily and facilitates over a billion transactions per year.
Besides India, currently offers services to over 620 million in Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia.
Grab’s Bangalore R&D centre, one of six globally, serves as a centre of excellence for payments. First opened in March 2017, it has continued to rapidly expand. In November, the centre added Vikas Agrawal, the former Senior VP of Engineering at PayTM, as the CTO for GrabPay. The Bangalore R&D centre currently counts 75 engineers, with Grab planning to hire 200 engineers in total by end of 2018.