Southeast Asia’s leading on-demand transportation platform Grab has announced the appointment of Theo Vassilakis as its new chief technology officer. Vassilakis is the third CTO that Grab has appointed for its research-and-development center based in Singapore. Wei Zhu had held the position for a year before leaving in August 2015.
Following Zhu, Arun Kumaravel joined the company, taking over the reins from Zhu, while retaining his post of Head of Engineering. However, due to some personal reasons, Arul left in August this year.
Vassilakis brings in strong entrepreneurial experience with highly impressive credentials. He has the experience of raising $7 million in funding for his startup in big data. He later sold that venture, 15 months after launch, to Microsoft. His appointment is a strategic move by Grab to bolster its R&D capabilities by investing in deep learning and data engineering competency.
Speaking on this development, Grab CEO and Co-Founder Anthony Tan commented: “Vassilakis’ fantastic track record as an engineering leader, entrepreneur and teacher at global technology companies makes him an invaluable addition to our executive team. With our platform generating 10 terabytes of data per day and doubling that number every quarter, we are happy we can bring on board his deep expertise in scaling machine learning and engineering systems.”
Tan further added that Vassilakis is coming on board at a time when Grab is strengthening and cementing the on-demand transport business and expanding the GrabPay to more merchants. In his role as a CTO, Vassilakis will look after the transport and payment platforms of Grab. He will also be responsible for growing the services division and extending his support in machine-learning development.
As early as 2017, Grab launched a series of new services, which includes GrabNow, a service to digitize street-hailing.
Prior to Grab, Vassilakis held various positions at global tech companies. His most recent was that of a partner, architect and development manager for the Azure platform at Microsoft.
Speaking on this new assignment, Theo said, “Southeast Asia is an incredibly exciting region. There’s an opportunity to make the lives of hundreds of millions of people easier by developing products and services that can bring convenience and income opportunities. I look forward to working with Anthony and the Grab team to drive further the scalability, reliability and machine-learning capability of our platform as we move towards that goal.”