Gojek, the first Indonesian unicorn superapp company that is now a decacorn company with a valuation of over US$10 billion, welcomed its third batch of startups that were chosen from the local retail sector for the third iteration of its Gojek Xcelerate startup acceleration program.
Aimed at fostering more unicorns among Indonesia’s promising startups to create a more lasting social impact, the accelerator program is done in collaboration with world-class startup accelerator Digitaraya, a startup accelerator that is also aimed at growing Indonesia’s startup ecosystem.
Besides Digitaraya, the nine startups that were selected for the latest edition of the accelerator program can also leverage the experience and knowledge of leading experts from UBS Bank, Google, and McKinsey.
According to the unicorn company Gojek, the latest batch of startups were chosen based on the fact that consumer tastes and behavior are rapidly evolving, as consumers increasingly attempt to find more ways and means of purchasing services and products that can afford them more convenience and speed.
The Gojek Xcelerate program will help these promising local retail startups to learn how to adapt and thrive in a competitive environment and keep pace with consumer tastes and behavior that are constantly evolving while enabling them to leverage on Gojek’s vast network of merchants, investors, and users.
The third batch of local startups include:
The Indonesian unicorn Gojek hopes that these nine promising retail startups will take the opportunity afforded by its Gojek Xcelerate program to fine-tune their approach in analyzing consumer behavior to come up with appropriate solutions for overcoming challenges such as consumer trust and market acceptance. The unicorn company also emphasized that it is vital for the startups to maintain sustainability even as they seek to accelerate their growth.
Regional ride-hailing unicorn Grab recently announced that it has acquired Bento Invest (Bento), a robo-advisory startup based in Singapore that provides business-to-business and business-to-consumer digital wealth management solutions. Financial details regarding the acquisition were, however, not provided.
The acquisition of Bento by Grab will enable the ride-hailing giant to expand its range of financial and investment services for its ecosystem of drivers, users and merchants through its app, and gain a firm foothold in the retail wealth management space. Post-acquisition, it is understood that Bento will operate under a new brand as GrabInvest, which is to be part of the Grab Financial Group.
Grab Financial Group, which is the financial services arm of the unicorn company, is currently comprised of GrabInsure for insurance, GrabPay for payments, GrabFinance for lending and GrabRewards for rewards. GrabInvest will be the fifth vertical in this arrangement of financial services and will play a crucial role as Grab seeks to become a leading player in Southeast Asia’s fintech space.
The new core vertical for Grab Financial Group will start launching products for the Singapore market via the Grab app by the middle of 2020, with the other Southeast Asian markets to follow. As part of the deal, Chandrima Das, who is the chief executive officer and founder of Bento, will become the new head of wealth management at Grab Financial Group. Before its acquisition by Grab, Bento is one of the top six business-to-business and business-to-customer robo advisors globally, according to CB Insights.
GrabInvest is an effort by Grab to widen and improve the accessibility and affordability of financial products to more users that were otherwise restricted to just conventional institutional investors or the very wealthy. As a retail wealth management solutions provider, the unicorn company has reassured users that GrabInvest will be fully transparent and will disclose all fees without any hidden charges, fees or elements. It will also fully adhere to the Monetary Authority of Singapore Capital Markets Services license’s regulatory and legal standards.
According to Reuben Lai, Grab Financial Group’s senior managing director, it is becoming ever more vital for the people of Southeast Asia to equip themselves with the right financial knowledge and tools in order to face an economic environment that is constantly changing, for better or worse, due to high volatility and unpredictable forces, as well as to protect both themselves and their loved ones. Even though retirement planning and wealth management solutions are out of reach for the majority of people in Southeast Asia, it is very crucial for them to build sustainable wealth for both themselves and future generations.
Grab has been active in the fintech space lately. The latest move by the unicorn company comes just after it had formed a strategic partnership with Singapore Telecommunications Limited (Singtel), one of the big four telcos operating in Singapore, to establish a consortium in a bid to apply for a full digital banking license from Singapore’s central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
Additionally, the superapp company had recently introduced Southeast Asia’s first numberless payment card via a partnership with MasterCard, and it had also been chosen by the Malaysian government late last year as an official e-wallet partner for the e-Tunai Rakyat Initiative, which is an initiative launched by the government in an effort to promote the adoption of e-wallets in the country. The latest acquisition of robo-advisory Bento by the unicorn superapp Grab and its rebranding to GrabInvest is one more step towards making crucial financial and wealth management solutions and products more accessible and affordable to the people of Southeast Asia.
As we enter into 2020, communication practitioners and experts have been looking into how the PR industry will change in this new year. Are we continuing old traditions of managing reputation or are there new emerging tactics and expectations that will be changing the PR game?
First, let us be clear. Press release is nothing new, and the practice can be dated back to 1906 where a railroad company sent the very first press release. But now with the new priorities and expectations as the roles and goals of marketing and public relations have merged, sending business press releases is becoming more important than ever.
Though news releases, in their very nature, had been used by businesses to announce their latest updates. Until recent years, the use of press releases has changed to become a form of content creation that is valued for managing online reputations and promotion.
Press releases now play a strategic role within a larger marketing campaign. The measure of PR success is no longer just limited to the end results of clicks, shares, or the amount of media coverage generated.
A successful press release can do everything from ranking for important money keywords, earn journalist coverage, as well as lead people to feel a certain way about a brand. It can even become the nudge that gets your users to take action and buy your product or service.
This works because it can create trust. And that is why it is so powerful.
At the same time, how we write press releases has transformed as well.
It should no longer be just about your company announcements or updates. Because rather than just being the historic records of business milestones, collectively they should drive the business core message that creates a loyal customer.
Now public relations and press releases have to consider all aspects of a business’s social and digital footprint. Because though your marketing sales letter and promises listed on your social media and homepage are important, users will always Google search your business.
Jason Falls, the Director of Digital and Social Strategy at Connett told Adage, “We can’t just send press releases and assume the traditional media will cover everyone we want to reach anymore. We have to understand consumers and the direction of their attention. Sometimes, that direction is more like a ping-pong ball path than a straight line.”
If you’re not being found online or your online presence is not a splendid one, as a business owner, you lose out on potential sales and customers. Especially if a competitor is showing up for results about your business name, you are bound to lose out.
Your PR plan should outline how you are going to reach your audience and your competitor’s users to create the right message that will influence the way they think about your service or product. Then it takes consistently creating different PRs to make sure that there will be a continuous positive impact over a period of time.
So it’s important to always outline the messaging that will run through all your PRs. for example using a consistent boilerplate and branding like Next Unicorn instead of NextUnicorn.
These messages are the information that you want your audience to remember about your product or service. They should include your unique selling points or specific CTAs. Always remember a news release that doesn’t include strategic messaging is a missed opportunity and won’t yield any influence for the brand.
Audiences are increasingly becoming more wary of brand voice, rather than just believing what you say in your sales letter. In fact, research shows that brands who are actively involved in speaking out about issues are more likely to increase customer loyalty and win respect.
“Americans have an outsized appetite to take actions on issues and drive change,” states the Doing Business in an Activist World study from Global Strategy Group. “They expect brands to do the same – and to engage with them as consumers and employees.”
That’s why companies that take stances on social and political issues are more likely gaining positive publicity and goodwill.
For businesses, it has always been critical that corporate and brand decisions support your values and positions. So why not reflect this in your company communications and messaging like press releases. It doesn’t have to be controversial, just take the recent coronavirus widespread for example.
This also brings us to another important consideration and that is media placement and coverage. Because while news releases are often perceived to be trustworthy, it still really depends where the story is covered. There’s a difference between being seen on Yahoo! News and USA Today versus sites like 1888 PressRelease.com.
Reading this might make press release seems expensive but the truth is, now anyone can get decent press release coverage to notable media outlets with a budget under a hundred dollars.
Though in the past, press releases have been largely dominated by large enterprises.
The thing about PR is that it can be used by any business, big or small. No matter if it is the national favorite drink like Budweiser or the new and upcoming One Wine brand, you see all kinds of businesses using press releases in their strategy to promote their business.
This is the case at MarketersMEDIA, a press release distribution service that caters to both big brands like Evernote and Haier, as well as small and medium businesses like Surviveware which offers safety kits on Amazon.
Daniel Tan, the founder of MarketersMEDIA and SEOPressor said, “It’s not enough to have a great product or service and keep it under the bush. You need to walk the talk and talk the walk, and it’s the same for any business big or small.”
Being available to all businesses, press release seems to be the way to go in 2020 and beyond.
If there’s any way to define when public relations is successful, it is when your marketing team says your product is amazing, the media says you are amazing and results online also says you are amazing…
Your customers will agree and become an army of loyal customers that stand by your business.
In a move to bring sustainability and disrupt the current congested transportation system, the ride-hailing super app unicorn Grab on Monday launched its latest electric vehicle (EV) service, the aptly named GrabCar Elektrik, for people arriving at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, which is Jakarta’s primary airport.
For its brand new EV-based service, Grab will be using its partner Hyundai’s Ioniq electric cars, which are compact five-door sedans that have been the EPA’s most efficient vehicles for the years 2017 to 2019. The introduction of an EV car service in Indonesia is part of Grab’s drive to help fulfill the national government’s agenda of an electric vehicle ecosystem as a means of improving the country’s transportation system.
The groundwork for the launch of the electric car service dates back to 2017, when Hyundai and Kia, another South Korean automobile manufacturer, invested a hefty US$250 million in Grab. This is followed up by Hyundai’s announcement that it would invest US$1.55 billion to build an EV plant in the country in 2019.
More recently, late last year Grab collaborated with the Indonesian government’s Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment to introduce its Electric Vehicle Ecosystem Roadmap for the country. As part of its efforts to develop a comprehensive electric car ecosystem, Grab has also formed a strategic partnership with Perusahaan Listrik Negara, the Indonesian government-owned electricity company that is responsible for most of the country’s electrical power, in order to build and develop a network of charging stations for electric vehicles.
Currently, the Grabcar Elektrik service only has a fleet of 20 Hyundai Ioniq EV cars to work with, though there are plans to further expand the number of cars in the future. According to Ridzki Kramadibrata, president director of Grab Indonesia, the unicorn company plans to increase the number of cars for its EV-based service to five hundred by the end of 2020. Though it is now only serving arriving passengers at the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, expectations are that Grab will eventually expand its Grabcar Elektrik service to serve more locales in the near future, depending on how well its first EV car service does during its initial stage. Other factors to consider would be the availability of tax incentives for electric vehicles, the accessibility of charging stations, and most importantly, government regulations.
Budi Karya Sumadi, who is Indonesia’s Transportation Minister, said that the introduction of the Grabcar Elektrik service by Grab, which is accomplished in partnership with Hyundai, has brought the country closer towards fulfilling its goal of having at least two million EVs plying its roads and highways by the end of 2025, thus helping to lower pollution and reducing impact on the environment. The minister is appreciative of the effort and commitment shown by private companies, in this case, the unicorn Grab and automobile manufacturer Hyundai, and he hopes that the launch of the Grabcar Elektrik service would act as the catalyst for a sea change in the country’s transportation system by accelerating the development of its electric vehicle ecosystem.
Moving forward, the unicorn Grab would like to be one of the major players in Indonesia to introduce and implement sustainable and efficient transportation solutions and services that have a minimal impact on the environment. Towards that end, the ride-hailing super app company will seek to further strengthen its partnership with Hyundai, as well as to work closely with the Indonesian government in order to fully realize its electric vehicle ecosystem vision.
For the vast majority of the rural population and those living outside the dense urban cities and towns of Southeast Asia, being able to access proper healthcare is a real challenge considering that most countries in the region lack well-developed healthcare infrastructure and facilities in remote locations. Even then, accessibility to proper healthcare for urban dwellers in the major cities of Southeast Asia can be challenging too as traffic congestion and the limited number of high-quality healthcare facilities prevent them from getting the proper care and medical services that they need. Another issue that needs to be addressed in regards to healthcare accessibility is the lack of proper information and knowledge regarding health among the general populace. Enter: Indonesian healthtech startup Halodoc, which was established in 2016 with the aim of connecting patients, licensed medical practitioners and lab services, and pharmacies together on a single platform to facilitate healthcare access for Indonesians.
Halodoc operates a digital app that integrates two important and distinct businesses within the healthcare sector – the supply chain and logistics of delivering medicinal drugs and products from pharmacies to patients across a network of 50 cities, and the teleconsultation services provided by medical professionals – into a seamless whole that streamlines healthcare accessibility for both rural and urban inhabitants. Currently, Halodoc is serving nearly seven million users a month on its platform, with those living outside the big cities of Surabaya and Jakarta constituting the majority of its users. The platform also boasts a wide variety of licensed medical and healthcare professionals on its platform with more than 22,000 general practitioners and medical specialists offering their services to its users, as well as partnerships with more than 1,200 pharmacies nationwide to improve medical and healthcare access for the vast majority of Indonesians. All healthcare professionals who participate in Halodoc’s platform must be fully licensed with at least 3 years of medical experience, and Halodoc noted that a majority of them are currently working and active in the healthcare industry.
The platform enables its users to personalize their healthcare by giving them access to a wide pool of licensed medical professionals from which they can choose to teleconsult with based on their preferences in medical professionals’ ratings, bio gleaned from the ‘About Me’ section and price points. The healthtech startup has also strategically partnered with Gojek so that medicinal drugs and supplies ordered by their users on their platform from Halodoc’s partnered pharmacies can be swiftly delivered to them by the Indonesian unicorn’s drivers, typically reaching them within a time span of 40 minutes. Additionally, in order to make healthcare more accessible for Indonesians, Halodoc has formed strategic partnerships with more than 1,300 healthcare providers and hospitals across the nation in order to facilitate and refine patients’ experience of hospital visits, such as by reducing waiting time periods and allowing them to use their insurance benefits to claim their medical bills.
To date, Halodoc has managed to secure a total of nearly US$100 million in funds through its 3 funding rounds thus far. Its latest funding round, a Series B in March 2019, was led by UOB Venture Management and raised US$65 million. Singtel Innov8, BliBli, Investidea, Korea Investment Partners and Go-Ventures are among some of the notable names that have invested in the healthtech startup.
Halodoc, Indonesia’s healthtech startup that is revolutionizing the country’s healthcare industry, intends to stay its course and continue collaborating with its partners and investors in making healthcare more accessible to Indonesians and spreading healthcare awareness. It aims to emulate the best practices of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s approach in delivering healthcare solutions to people worldwide, and spread more reasonably priced and excellent health services to Indonesians across the country.