How does Grab make money?

Steven Loeb · May 24, 2022 · Short URL:

Grab offers products such as delivery, insurance, and advertising but still make from cars and taxis

There was a time when it seemed like Uber would conquer the globe, as the ridesharing company was expanding rapidly into new markets. It didn't quite turn out that way, as the company has been forced to exit from markets including Brazil, Russia, and China. 

What was Uber's loss, though, turned into other company's gain: in Southeast Asia, for  the company sold its business in the region to Grab in 2018.

Grab, which is headquartered in Singapore and Indonesia, started out as a ride hailing app called GrabTaxi, before eventually expanding into multiple different services and product lines, including payments and insurance.

Now the company breaks its revenue down into four separate categories: deliveries, mobility, financial services, and enterprise and new initiatives.


Grab's deliveries platform connects driver and merchant partners with consumers to create a localized logistics platform. This includes GrabFood, the company's food delivery service; GrabKitchen, the company's centralized food preparation facilities; GrabMart, an on-demand everyday goods delivery service; GrabExpress, its package delivery booking service; and GrabKios, which allow agents to act as distributors or resellers of digital goods. 

The company's delivery revenue mostly comes from commissions, taking a percentage of the total dollar value and delivery fee of each order on GrabFood, GrabKitchen, GrabMart, and GrabExpress. For GrabKios, revenue is generated by charging a commission on the total value of goods sold by its agents.

Here's an example of how it works: the consumer orders on Grab and pays for the goods ordered, delivery fee, and platform and other fees, which together the company calls its "gross merchandise value," or GMV. If someone orders $18 worth of food, they'd also pay a $3.40 delivery fee and a $0.20 platform fees for a total of $21.60.

Grab's merchant-partners receive the dollar value of goods ordered, minus an agreed-upon commission to Grab, while the driver-partners receive the delivery fee. In this example, the merchant would receive $15.60, the driver-partner would receive $4.60, and Grab would retain $1.40 in total for the order.

In 2021, Grab made $148 million in revenue from this segment, representing 22% of the total $675 million for the year. That was up from $5 million in 2020, for an increase of 2,860%.


Grab's mobility offerings connects consumers with rides provided by driver-partners. This segment includes GrabCar, which offers chauffeured cars; GrabTaxi, an on-demand taxi booking service; JustGrab, a fixed-fare on-demand service that brings together both taxis and cars; GrabBike, an on-demand motorcycle ride service; GrabShare, an on-demand carpooling service; and GrabRentals, in which utilizes Grab rents out its own fleet of cars.

Revenue from this segment comes from commissions paid by driver-partners for the use of the Grab platform, as well as from rental fees paid by driver-partners from the GrabRentals offering.

Here's how it works: the consumer pays the total dollar value of the ride, including any tolls, which are collected by Grab from the consumer and remitted directly to the driver-partner who paid for them, and other fees. The driver-partner receives the value of the ride, including tolls and other fees, and any incentives, minus Grab's commission, which is based on an agreed-upon rate based on the cost of the ride.

If the consumer pays $10.00, the driver-partner earns $9.00, and Grab earns $1.00.

In 2021, Grab made $456 million from this segment, or 67.5% of total revenue. That was up 4% from $438 million in 2020. 

Financial Services

Grab's financial services offerings include digital solutions to address the financial needs of its driver and merchant-partners and consumers, including digital payments, lending, receivables factoring, insurance and wealth management. This segment includes GrabPay, a mobile wallet payment solution; GrabRewards, the company's loyalty program; GrabFinance, in which the company generates loans for small business; GrabInsure, the company's insurance arm; GrabInvest, the company's investment solutions; and OVO, an Indonesian digital payments and smart financial services business.

For payment services, Grab generate revenue from transaction fees from merchant-partners and transaction platforms based on a percentage of transaction volumes; for lending and receivables factoring, revenue primarily comes from interest income it receives from the loans it extends and from the factoring fee or discount when Grab purchases the receivables. For other financial services, revenue is made through commissions received from the provision of the service. Merchant-partners that have entered into contractual agreements with Grab pay a commission fee, based on transaction volumes, to support the GrabPay e-wallet services. 

In 2021, the company made $37 million in revenue from financial service, representing 5.5% of total revenue. That was up from a loss of $10 million in this segment in 2020.

Enterprise and New Initiatives

Grab's suite of enterprise offerings includes GrabAds, which provides online and offline advertising solutions for brands; that includes mobile billboards on its vehicles, and in-app engagement. This segment also include GrabDefence, a suite of in-house fraud detection and prevention technologies. It also offers other lifestyle services offered by third party service providers to consumers through the Grab app, such as domestic and home services, flight bookings, hotel bookings, and subscriptions. 

The company generates revenue by directly selling GrabAds and GrabDefence to merchants and businesses, while revenue from ita lifestyle offerings are based on commissions charged to service providers in return for selling these services through its platform. 

In 2021, the company made $44 million from this segment, or 6.5% of total revenue. That was up 22% from $36 million in 2020.

(Image source:


Support VatorNews by Donating

Read more from our "Making Money" series

More episodes