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Grab acquires Singaporean wealth tech startup Bento

Bento will be rebranded as GrabInvest.

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Grab announced today that it has acquired Singaporean wealth tech startup Bento for an undisclosed amount to expand into retail wealth management and investment solutions.

According to a media statement, Bento will be rebranded as GrabInvest and will start offering products on the Grab app in the first half of this year for users, and driver and merchant partners in Singapore before expanding similar services to other markets in the region. GrabInvest will operate under a retail wealth management capital markets services license in Singapore.

GrabInvest, led by founder and CEO of Bento Chandrima Das, will be a notable addition to Grab’s financial ecosystem as the company is awaiting a virtual bank license after submitting a bid with Singtel in December 2019.

Grab said the new platform will make wealth management services accessible to the underserved by adopting a low-cost model, and is easy to understand as it allows users to transact on a platform they already are familiar with.

Founded in 2016, Bento is a B2B robo-advisor and digital wealth technology provider. Besides managing assets for individuals through its proprietary asset allocation algorithm, Bento also powers banks, wealth managers, brokers, and insurance companies to launch digital wealth solutions. Bento’s founder Das formerly served as managing director at the Bank of Singapore and prior to that was the CEO of ING Investment Management.

This is Grab’s third acquisition after buying Indonesian O2O e-commerce platform Kuo in 2017 and Bangalore-based payments startup iKaaz in 2018.

In a recent interview with Nikkei Asian Review, Grab president Ming Mas said the company “can grow without extra funding” but is still “open to strategic investment,” raising some concerns from industry insiders about Grab’s path to become profitable despite having raised more than USD 9 billion up to date.