Super-app Grab is going public in the biggest SPAC merger ever

Wednesday, April 14, 2021 by Robinhood Snacks |

SPAC at it again... Singapore-based Grab is going public on the Nasdaq by merging with a SPAC (a public company that exists only to acquire others... and then become them). Grab will notch a ~$40B valuation, making it the largest SPAC merger in history. It'll also be the largest US equity offering by a Southeast Asian company. Grab started as a ride-hail platform, but now it's a claaassic Super-app...

  • Super-app: Think Uber, DoorDash, Venmo, and Amazon... all in one. Grab is the top ride-hail and delivery app in Southeast Asia, and offers digital wallets and financial services.
  • Swiss army knife: Book a car, order a salad and floss for home delivery, pay for coffee in-store, send money, and buy insurance...all in Grab.

You can leave the chat... but you can't leave the app. Mega-apps like Grab are widely used in Asia (the convenience factor is next-level). But along with that convience comes a 360° insight into your daily life: A single app can know what you’re buying, where you're going, who you’re dating, what you’re chatting about, and your Bulldog's entire life story (think: Google X 10).

  • China is leading super-app innovation with WeChataka: the app for everything. Other notable Chinese mega-apps: Alipay, Alibaba, and Baidu. The question isn't "what can they do?" but "what can't they do?"

The future of apps is unified... Grab's massive SPAC highlights the value in mega-app platforms. And American companies have been leaning deeper into super-app territory: Facebook unified its payment tools, launched shopping in Insta, and integrated messaging across its apps. Uber launched food delivery, e-scooters, and public transit. And food delivery apps like DoorDash have expanded into "delivery everything." All-in-one platforms are a goldmine for advertisers, and super convenient for users. But that comes at a cost: bigger privacy and regulatory concerns.