There’s a lot at stake with Southeast Asia’s most valuable startup Grab’s upcoming SPAC SPAC Special purpose acquisition company A SPAC is a listed entity whose sole purpose is to merge with or acquire another business and take it public. SPAC deals have fast become an IPO alternative for many companies merger with US investment firm Altimeter Capital. Not least because of the US$40 billion valuation that comes with the Nasdaq listing, making it the largest deal of its kind anywhere in the world.

It’s exactly the kind of blockbuster deal that the Singapore-headquartered ride-hailing firm wanted. However, this merger goes beyond just these two companies.

“The Grab SPAC has ignited a keen interest in US venture capital firms and hedge funds in the region,” says Hian Goh, founding partner at Singapore-based Openspace Ventures, a backer of Grab’s rival Gojek, among others. “If Altimeter can find the world’s biggest de-SPAC de-SPAC de-SPAC This is the process that turns a merger agreement between a SPAC and its acquisition target into the entity becoming a listed business in this region, the assumption is that this is the next hotbed of value creation.”

Grab’s listing will open the door to Southeast Asia, but it’s up to the company to keep it ajar. It’ll need to perform on the financial side, just as Sea Ltd, the firm behind gaming service Garena and e-commerce platform Shopee, has done has done The Ken As economies crash, Sea stands tall on its three pillars Read more .

Can it?

Both Grab and Altimeter released a selection of documents that tell us more about the state of the company’s business than ever before. In addition to numbers from the past three years, Grab also shared shared SEC Grab's data in the Form 8-K filed by Altimeter Growth Corp Read more a projection about where it thinks its business is headed in the three years to come.

What emerges is the picture of a company that’s still maturing, and catching the wave of Southeast Asian tech optimism to ride it all the way into the big pond.

Not everything about Grab is rosy. Its driver and merchant subsidies are still high compared with its closest peer. Its financial services unit is still in its infancy, and will be for several years to come. Its current business also still lacks the flywheel effect that Sea Ltd has, with Garena as its profit engine and Shopee as a boundless growth opportunity.