Off the Record: What’s up with Grab?

Understanding the market logic behind Grab’s financial performance

Event Sneak Peak

What went wrong with Grab? They have been weathering rough waters ever since their public market debut.

Why are investors worried? Is this phase just temporary? Or is there more than what meets the eye? What’s in store for Grab in the future?

In “Off the Record: What’s up with Grab?” Momentum Academy discussed these and more questions from the Momentum Works community, with more than 400 people attending.

Here’s a summary of the 6 key points. For the full insights, reach out to Momentum Academy at [email protected].

1. The elephant in the room 

Grab incentives

Grab’s share price dropped after they released their Q4 2021 results – their revenue had fallen due to an increase in incentives given out. We explained what these incentives were, what happened behind these incentives, and whether these were transitory or permanent. 

There was unanimous agreement that “the era of generous incentives globally and specifically in the on-demand industry will probably come to an end soon”.

2. Don’t forget about the macro factors


Of course, when we look at stock price changes, we should not neglect the macro factors. Every time Jerome Powell says something, the market reacts violently and there’s a fluctuation in interest rates.

What’s the impact of this on the tech industry and Southeast Asia? This did impact Shopee’s business in Poland a little because of the exchange fluctuation, but we believe most of the impact will only be felt 2 and 3 quarters later when the consequences of sanctions are visible. 

3. Building a regional company in Southeast Asia is hard but worth it 

regional company southeast asia

We covered what it takes to run a regional business. In short, running a regional business in Southeast Asia is very complex – Momentum Works covered this complex dynamic in the “Southeast Asia investment opportunities” report published last year (but still very relevant).

4. Super app is more than just a “tile” to an app home page. 

Grab super app


5. It’s okay if good people are leaving Grab… 

People are leaving Grab

We heard noise in the market that people were jumping ship, but we shouldn’t over-interpret that. When we talk about people and culture, we always share that some people who are part of the team may crave the challenge to create something new when their current workplace becomes big. And now that they’ve been trained by Grab, they want to start their own business. The Ken and Tech in Asia have written about both the Grab and Gojek mafias.

6. …Because new people are coming on board

Grab culture

An investor friend shared afterwards that this was something that is not talked about enough – the people and culture of a company. Grab is genuinely a nice place to work. Friends who work there tell us so. This is a culture that Grab has built, and they should be proud of it. 

But now that they have gone IPO, it is a completely different ball game. Grab is bringing on-board new people into the management, and their culture will change. It is inevitable. 

It could get uncomfortable, but they shouldn’t resist it. If Grab wants to do well in the capital market, they will need management who knows how to manage these complicated situations. What Grab needs to do is to hold on to some part of their core culture but be open to evolving other parts of their culture to take on new challenges. For all of us, we can never take on new challenges if we stick to the old ways of doing them. 


Reach out to Momentum Academy to learn how we can help your teams and organization with leadership, mentorship and corporate training to understand innovation and disruption. Email us at [email protected].

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