​KakaoTaxi to raise 500b won for expansion of service

KakaoTaxi will reportedly raise 500 billion won in exchange for 30 percent equity.
Written by Cho Mu-Hyun, Contributing Writer

KakaoTaxi, South Korean chat giant Kakao's cab chauffeur service, is expected to raise 500 billion won in investment from private equity fund TPG.

Kakao Mobility, which was spun off from Kakao and operates KakaoTaxi, will sell 30 percent of its shares to TPG for the cash injection, company insiders say.

The firm is also in final talks with Japanese fund Orix and local Korean Investment Partners for additional investment of less than 100 billion won.

KakaoTaxi currently has 14.9 million users and 224,000 registered cab drivers.

The company is expected to use the funds to expand its existing transportation services and upgrade its standard KakaoTaxi app. Users who pay additional fees during rush hours or late and night will also get a speed boost in finding nearby cabs.

Kakao said it was just one of many ideas it was internally discussing and it was still in the stage of deciding the appropriate business model.

Earlier this month, the company announced a $3.5 million investment into robotics firm Luxrobo and its venture capital invested $600,000 into a local connected car security startup in March.

Similar to its chat rival Line, owned by Korean search giant Naver, Kakao has been attempting to diversify its portfolio.

Naver and Line are also looking into Internet of Things devices and AI for future growth.

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