GrabTaxi gets $270m cash infusion

Mr Anthony Tan, chief executive and co-founder of GrabTaxi.
Mr Anthony Tan, chief executive and co-founder of GrabTaxi. PHOTO: GRABTAXI

Latest fund-raising brings S'pore-based firm's investment value to over US$1.5b

Singapore-based taxi-hailing app GrabTaxi is getting a US$200 million (S$270.4 million) infusion in its latest round of fund-raising led by a US hedge fund, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday.

Japan's SoftBank Group and Tiger Global Management are also participating in the fund-raising round, apart from US-based Coatue Management, reported the Journal, quoting unnamed sources.

The investment values the company at over US$1.5 billion, including the fund-raising, with the possibility that GrabTaxi could increase the size of the round with the inclusion of additional investment in the coming weeks.

GrabTaxi, a South-east Asia- focused company, is among a crop of Asian competitors that have sprung up to battle with global market leader Uber across the region.

China's Didi Kuaidi, which is raising US$2 billion in funding, and India's Ola and Easy Taxi are some of the others in the business. Uber itself is raising funds, specifically for its China unit.

Coatue Management has led a US$600 million purchase of shares in Didi Kuaidi from some executives, the Journal reported.

GrabTaxi, which launched in 2012 and operates in 22 cities across six countries, is competing with several players to lure users in South-east Asia, home to some 600 million people as well as fast-growing emerging markets like Indonesia and the Philippines.

The company is expected to have close to US$500 million of cash on hand after the latest fund-raising, the Journal said.

GrabTaxi said on Monday that its app has been downloaded 4.8 million times. Its founder and chief executive, Mr Anthony Tan, has said his company makes sure it works closely with government officials to comply with local laws.

Among GrabTaxi's other competitors are Easy Taxi, which was founded in Brazil and is available across Asia, and London-based Hailo, which operates in Singapore. Elsewhere in Asia, China's two big taxi-booking apps, Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache, merged in February, while India has given rise to local players like Ola and TaxiForSure.

Mr Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus of the holding company of India's Tata conglomerate, has bought a stake in Ola, the company said yesterday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 02, 2015, with the headline 'GrabTaxi gets $270m cash infusion'. Print Edition | Subscribe