Singapore ride-hailing firm Grab raises US$750m in Softbank-led financing round

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 September, 2016, 4:03pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 September, 2016, 10:55pm

Southeast Asian ride-hailing giant Grab has raised US$750 million in its latest financing round, taking its total amount of funds to over US$1 billion as the company works to stave off competition from Uber in the region.

The latest funding round was led by Japanese telecommunication giant SoftBank in an “expanded, oversubscribed round, with participation from both new and existing investors”, according to a statement by Grab. No other details of the funding round were disclosed.

A representative of Didi Chuxing, China’s dominant ride-hailing company and an investor in Grab, did not respond to an inquiry from the Post on whether the company participated in the funding round, although a Bloomberg report in August suggested that Didi Chuxing and Softbank were backing a new round of financing for Grab that would exceed US$600 million. The round was closed with Grab valuation at over US$3 billion, Bloomberg said, citing a source familiar with the matter.

Grab’s increasing funds sees it following the footsteps of Didi Chuxing, which also raised several rounds of funding to pit itself against Uber China before Didi bought over the latter’s operations in early August in a bid to stem losses sustained by both companies through years of subsidy wars.

Anthony Tan, chief executive and co-founder of Grab said in a statement the company is “particularly excited” about opportunities in Indonesia’s US$15 billion ride-hailing market, where it competes with rivals such as Uber and Indonesia’s Go-Jek.

Our vision is to drive Southeast Asia transportation forward and transform the region’s mobile internet ecosystem
Anthony Tan, chief executive of Grab

Grab will also “significantly invest” in its mobile payments platform GrabPay to make it easier for passengers and drivers to accept payment in a region where credit card usage is uncommon, it said.

In Indonesia, Grab has already partnered with local bank Bandiri to offer a mobile wallet service and has a partnership with Indonesia’s Lippo Group to implement a payments platform that allows consumers to pay with GrabPay at stores, cinemas and e-commerce platforms.

“Our vision is to drive Southeast Asia transportation forward and transform the region’s mobile internet ecosystem. This latest funding, the largest in the history of Southeast Asia consumer technology, strengthens our ability to pursue those long-term goals as we continue to build on our market leadership,” said Tan in the statement.

In August, Tan wrote in an email to Grab employees that Didi’s buyout of Uber China’s operations meant that US-based Uber Technologies would likely focus on Grab’s home turf of Southeast Asia.

The Singapore-based company currently operates across six countries in Southeast Asia, including Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, and Vietnam, with up to 1.5 million daily bookings, it said.