Grab today announced that it has appointed Mark Porter as CTO for Transport. Formerly of Amazon Web Services, Porter will oversee Grab’s technology infrastructure and teams dedicated to its transport business, which includes private car hires, taxi-hailing, motorbike taxis, carpooling, multimodal services and more.
Porter spent the past five years helping to manage Amazon’s database services, with previous stints at NASA, Oracle and Caltech. In his new role at Grab, Porter will also handle the development of machine learning, AI, and data science capabilities to deliver a more seamless and personalized transport experience. Based in Seattle, he will lead and work with engineering teams across Grab’s global network of 6 R&D centers in Singapore, Seattle, Beijing, Bangalore, Ho Chi Minh City and Jakarta.
Commenting on Mark’s appointment, Theo Vassilakis, Group Chief Technology Officer said, “More than 1 in 6 Southeast Asians ride with us and millions earn income with us as driver partners. Beyond delivering safe, affordable and convenient ways to travel, we have a big responsibility to ensure that our systems remain stable and reliable even as we continue to grow. We know that when things don’t work, it’s more than the inability to get a ride; it impacts people’s livelihoods.
As one of the region’s hottest startups, Grab, valued at $11 billion, is available in 235 cities across eight countries and offers an array of services beyond traditional ride-hailing, including food delivery, bike-sharing, payments, and financial services. Its investors include SoftBank, Toyota, Hyundai, and Didi. However, it has been faced with accusations of monopoly and declining service levels since rival Uber withdrew from Southeast Asia, effectively leaving the region’s ride-hailing market to Grab.