Anthony Tan and Hooi Ling Tan

WGL 2021-Anthony Tan-Hooi-Ling Tan
Courtesy of Grab (2)
  • Title
    Cofounder and CEO; Cofounder and COO
  • Affiliation

Anthony Tan and Hooi Ling Tan faced a worst-case scenario in early 2020, when the pandemic ripped through Southeast Asia. The crisis obliterated demand for the ride-hailing services of Grab, the Singapore-based superapp they founded in 2012 that serves 25 million monthly users across eight countries. The co-founders, who met at Harvard Business School (they aren’t related to each other), had to make some tough decisions: They slashed senior management pay by 20% and laid off roughly 5% of employees. But they also took steps to ensure the cuts didn’t go any deeper. They transitioned more than 237,000 ride-hailing drivers to delivery drivers in 2020, while expanding grocery delivery service GrabMart to its eight markets in three months. They also built GrabCare, a temporary on-demand service to transport medical professionals, in less than 72 hours. All told, Grab’s adjusted net revenue rose 60% in COVID-riddled 2020. The agility Grab demonstrated is no doubt one reason its upcoming SPAC merger with Altimeter Growth Corp. values the company at $40 billion, the largest black-check deal to date. Grab says it partnered with Altimeter, in part, because the firm displayed a commitment to Grab’s mission of economic empowerment; it promised to donate 10% of the shares it will receive as sponsor of the deal to Grab’s driver and merchant endowment fund.