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Daily Digest | This story starts with three engineers and a cramped office

Written by The Uptake Published on   2 mins read

Here is a chapter of Grab’s origin story.

Hi, it’s Khamila in Jakarta.

With its long list of services, from ride-hailing to food delivery and payments, Grab has undeniably influenced the lifestyle of millions of people. As one of the biggest tech companies in Southeast Asia, Grab has an army of engineers. It seems like a lifetime ago, but the company’s chief technology officer Suthen Thomas told KrASIA that it all started with three people who formed the company’s first tech team.

Suthen started his career at Grab as a tech consultant in 2011, and joined the company full time a year later as its first tech lead. He has been a witness to the evolution of Grab’s tech team, yet there are constants—Grab’s hyperlocal approach, a focus on data security, and the team’s willingness to do whatever it takes to move their operations forward.

Suthen rose through the ranks since 2015 and has been CTO since January 2020. Now, as the firm prepares for a SPAC merger to go public later this year, the CTO says two things are constantly on his mind: ensuring that his teams find joy in their work and the goal of continually being excellent.

From its roots in a cramped office housing just three engineers and several interns, to its multinational presence throughout Southeast Asia, Grab is maturing quickly, which may explain why the company is now on its fourth CTO. And the pressure will only mount after Grab goes public and is scrutinized in all possible ways, from its overall business operations to its technical capabilities.

Can Grab’s tech team demonstrate its resilience again?

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