Want to Succeed in Business? Find a Problem to Solve | Anthony Tan and Amane Dannouni | TED

TED

TED

18 min, 2 sec

A detailed conversation with Anthony Tan, CEO and cofounder of Grab, discussing the company's inception, growth, and impact-driven business model.

Summary

  • Anthony Tan, CEO and cofounder of Grab, is introduced as a prominent figure in the tech community, particularly in Southeast Asia, and outlined as a multi-faceted individual with various personal roles.
  • Grab is described as a multifaceted platform combining services like Uber, DoorDash, and PayPal, aiming to solve real social issues from its inception.
  • Tan discusses Grab's origin, emphasizing the goal to create a for-profit social enterprise (FOPSE) or double bottom line business that integrates social impact from day one.
  • The focus on safety, particularly for women and children in Malaysia, is highlighted as a personal and widespread issue that Grab sought to address.
  • The expansion into financial services and a full-fledged bank is attributed to the need to support drivers and merchants financially, offering daily interest accrual and facilitating high initial investments in EVs.
  • Tan elucidates the strategic choices that enabled Grab to scale quickly and sustainably, catering to the bottom of the pyramid.
  • The conversation also touches upon Grab's commitment to environmental sustainability and its journey towards becoming net carbon neutral by 2040.

Chapter 1

Introduction to Anthony Tan and Grab

0:03 - 25 sec

Anthony Tan is introduced with an overview of his background and Grab's multifaceted platform.

Anthony Tan is introduced with an overview of his background and Grab's multifaceted platform.

  • Amane Dannouni introduces Anthony Tan as a well-known figure in the tech community and CEO and cofounder of Grab.
  • Tan's multifaceted identity is highlighted, acknowledging his roles as a Malaysian-born individual, based in Singapore, and his personal life roles.
  • Grab is described as a super-app that combines services akin to Uber, DoorDash, and PayPal in one platform.

Chapter 2

Origin and Mission of Grab

0:30 - 52 sec

Anthony Tan shares the initial vision for Grab and the decision against traditional business models.

Anthony Tan shares the initial vision for Grab and the decision against traditional business models.

  • Anthony Tan responds modestly to the introduction and expresses his discomfort with such praise due to his upbringing.
  • Tan explains the traditional business model of building wealth and then contributing through philanthropy, but he favored an integrated impact-driven approach from the start.
  • He argues against the traditional model which might cause harm or fail to give back, highlighting the potential for negative externalities in profit-driven businesses.

Chapter 3

Why Grab Focused on Safety

1:23 - 1 min, 14 sec

The focus on safety as Grab's primary mission is discussed.

The focus on safety as Grab's primary mission is discussed.

  • Tan discusses why Grab chose not to follow the traditional business model of wealth accumulation followed by philanthropy.
  • He highlights the importance of addressing negative impacts and discusses the possibility of not giving back or causing harm.
  • Grab's business plan was submitted as a social enterprise, reflecting its commitment to positive social impact from the outset.

Chapter 4

Personal Motivation Behind Grab

2:37 - 1 min, 29 sec

Anthony Tan shares personal experiences that motivated Grab's focus on safety.

Anthony Tan shares personal experiences that motivated Grab's focus on safety.

  • Tan shares a personal anecdote about his cofounder's safety concerns when using taxis, which inspired Grab's focus on safety.
  • Grab aimed to solve a globally relevant problem, starting with improving transportation safety in Malaysia.
  • The safety solution was envisioned to unlock opportunities for women, children, and society at large.

Chapter 5

Expansion into Financial Services

4:06 - 2 min, 3 sec

Anthony Tan discusses Grab's expansion into financial services and banking.

Anthony Tan discusses Grab's expansion into financial services and banking.

  • Tan explains how Grab evolved from solving transportation safety to offering financial solutions like Grabpay and Grab lending.
  • The financial services provided by Grab, including digital banking, are designed to support drivers and merchants, enabling them to save and earn daily interest.
  • Grab's financial solutions aim to uplift the economic conditions of drivers and long-tail merchants in Southeast Asia.

Chapter 6

Grab's Geographical Expansion

6:09 - 2 min, 37 sec

The reasons behind Grab's geographical expansion across Southeast Asia are explored.

The reasons behind Grab's geographical expansion across Southeast Asia are explored.

  • Tan speaks about Grab's decision to scale across eight different countries, despite the diversity and challenges in Southeast Asia.
  • He justifies the broad scope of Grab's operations, designed to serve 650 million people, by focusing on common problems and proven solutions.
  • The importance of scale and velocity in providing efficient services and serving the bottom of the pyramid is emphasized.

Chapter 7

Design Choices for Inclusivity and Scale

8:46 - 1 min, 55 sec

Anthony Tan reflects on Grab's design choices aimed at inclusivity and rapid scaling.

Anthony Tan reflects on Grab's design choices aimed at inclusivity and rapid scaling.

  • Tan discusses Grab's deliberate choice to work with taxi drivers and expand to other low-cost forms of mobility over luxury vehicles.
  • He explains how these choices were in line with Grab's mission to serve the masses and be financially sustainable.
  • Tan also describes the early technological choices, such as betting on Android, to reach more drivers and ensure scalability.

Chapter 8

Regulatory Strategy and Competition

10:41 - 1 min, 16 sec

Anthony Tan discusses Grab's regulatory strategy and its competition with Uber.

Anthony Tan discusses Grab's regulatory strategy and its competition with Uber.

  • Tan reflects on the decision to work with regulators and the taxi industry instead of disrupting the market aggressively.
  • He explains how this strategy allowed Grab to scale sustainably and eventually outpace Uber in the region.
  • Tan suggests that a collaborative approach with regulators and industry stakeholders contributed to Grab's success.

Chapter 9

Grab's Commitment to Environmental Sustainability

11:57 - 3 min, 29 sec

Anthony Tan talks about Grab's commitment to environmental sustainability and its plans to achieve net carbon neutrality.

Anthony Tan talks about Grab's commitment to environmental sustainability and its plans to achieve net carbon neutrality.

  • Tan acknowledges the transition from a double to triple bottom line business, incorporating environmental sustainability as a core focus.
  • He discusses Grab's goal to become net carbon neutral by 2040 and the strategies to reduce fleet emissions through electrification.
  • Tan mentions ongoing efforts and partnerships with governments and other stakeholders to facilitate the shift to electric vehicles.

Chapter 10

Encouragement for Entrepreneurs

15:27 - 2 min, 34 sec

Anthony Tan shares his message for entrepreneurs, emphasizing impact-driven business models.

Anthony Tan shares his message for entrepreneurs, emphasizing impact-driven business models.

  • Tan encourages entrepreneurs to start businesses with double or triple bottom lines, addressing societal problems.
  • He argues that entrepreneurs should be driven by a personal calling to address social issues like the rich-poor divide.
  • Tan concludes by stressing the importance of passion and conviction in entrepreneurship and the pride in contributing positively to society.

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