Ride-hailing startup, Grab, secures US$1.5B from Softbank Vision Fund

by Felicia Calle

Southeast Asian ride-hailing giant Grab announced a US$1.46 billion investment by the Softbank Vision Fund (SVF), bringing in the total financing secured in its Series H round to a hefty US$4.5 billion.

The latest investment arrived via SVF; a $100 billion investment fund set up by Japan’s SoftBank, which has also invested in Grab alongside such big organization as Microsoft, Toyota, and Hyundai.

After Uber sold its operations in Southeast Asia to Singapore-based ride-hailing unicorn Grab last year, the company’s transport revenue doubled between March 2018 and December 2018. This deal was Uber’s third such consolidation effort after it also sold its Chinese arm to Didi Chuxing, following a merger with Yandex.taxi in Eastern Europe. Grab’s food delivery revenue also grew by 45 times. As Uber and Lyft work to become the world’s first publicly traded ride-hailing companies, their competitors are continuing to secure huge amounts of funds through private investments.

The company aims to use the newly acquired funding to expand into a range of industry vingerticals such as financial services, food delivery, parcel delivery, content, and digital payments. Built on the GrabPlatform, these services include on-demand video (partnership with HOOQ), digital healthcare (partnership with Ping An Good Doctor), insurance (partnership with ZhongAn International), and hotel bookings (partnership with Booking Holdings).

The “super-app” concept is not new and is already well-established in China. WeChat acquires users with its messaging and social media capabilities but is now just as important as a platform for making payments, playing games and signing into gyms. Meituan, on the other hand, started as a Groupon-like service for buying vouchers from local merchants, branched out into takeout delivery, bike rentals, movie tickets, and other services.

The company will also use the new funds to invest in Indonesia, by expanding GrabFood and GrabExpress,and also introducing new verticals in the country.

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