Grab quietly cuts rider rewards (Singapore). The updated GrabRewards program means that riders will earn less points per ride than they used to. In one example, gold-level GrabRewards members will now earn 4.5 points per S$1 spent, down from 16 points. Platinum members will now need to accrue 2,200 points to avail of a S$5 cash rebate on their following ride compared to the 1,900 points they previously needed. The changes – which were announced through a notification in the Grab app – have caused a backlash among some users. A company spokesperson said the updates “reflect all the different ways you can use Grab as your everyday app.” (The Independent)
Meanwhile, the company faces further allegations over “phantom bookings” (The Philippines). Eddie Ybanez, co-founder and CEO of local taxi-hailing service Micab, claimed that his company’s drivers had been hit with “several thousand” fake bookings. Micab drivers reported that they had to cancel bookings after no passengers turned up at the pre-arranged collection points. A few minutes after canceling, several drivers received a call inviting them to a Grab driver orientation program, Ybanez claimed. Tech in Asia has contacted Grab for comment. (e27)
Points scores US$8 million seed funding (Singapore). The blockchain-based credit rating platform raised the capital from investors including DHVC, Cherubic Ventures, Ce Yuan, Ontology Foundation, Nest.Bio Ventures, and Zhong Cheng Xin Credit Technology. Points claims that its technology minimizes risk for banks and other lenders, thereby giving underbanked consumers improved access to credit. (AsiaOne)
Homedy nets undisclosed investment in second fundraising round (Vietnam). Japan’s Genesia Ventures, Access Ventures, and Mynavi Corporation were among the participating investors. Real estate platform Homedy said it will use the funds for hiring, geographical expansion, and the development of new features, including an interior design app.
Vtion bags US$280,000 angel funding (India). The media analytics startup secured the money through AngelList’s online platform, with several other angel investors participating. Vtion will use the funds for product development, marketing, recruitment, and filing patent applications. (e27)
JD plots Europe entry by year-end (China). The ecommerce giant is hoping to open an office in Germany by the end of 2018. “For me it’s no longer just about selling products from Germany in China. I would also like to sell products in Europe,” said CEO Richard Liu. (Reuters)
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