Two companies. One: China’s ByteDance, the SoftBank-backed parent to short-form video app TikTok, with an eye-watering $78-billion valuation, is the world’s most valuable startup. Two: $12-billion Singapore-headquartered ride-hailing firm Grab, another SoftBank portfolio company, is Southeast Asia’s first unicorn that is valued over $10 billion—a decacorn. But beyond SoftBank, the two giants also have a common shareholder—the unusual K3 Ventures.
Unusual because this Kuok Meng Xiong-led investment firm is the direct offshoot of a family office—not an investor you’d traditionally expect for companies of ByteDance or Grab’s stature. But not just any family-run office. It’s the one started by Meng Xiong’s 96-year-old Malaysian business magnate grandfather Robert Kuok, who has an estimated net worth of $18.4 billion.