​SoftBank leads Grab's $750m funding round

Grab has raised $750 million in equity financing in a funding round led by SoftBank, increasing its total capital position to over $1 billion.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

Ride-booking platform Grab has raised $750 million in equity financing, with Japanese telecommunications giant SoftBank leading the funding round that has increased the startup's total capital position to over $1 billion.

According to Grab, it is the largest transportation network in Southeast Asia with up to 1.5 million daily bookings across its private car, motorbike, taxi, and carpooling services.

SoftBank, a long-term strategic partner of Grab, led the oversubscribed funding round, which included participation from both new and existing investors.

Grab is planning on using the funds to grow its market presence in Indonesia, which it said is Southeast Asia's largest market with a population of 250 million.

Grab will also be further developing GrabPay in Southeast Asia, as well looking into enhancing driving efficiency through machine learning and data science capabilities.

"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 Grab co-founder and CEO Anthony Tan.

"Grab has grown tremendously over the past year. This round of funding shows the confidence and optimism investors have in Grab's market leadership and long-term potential in Southeast Asia. We are blessed to have great partners like SoftBank, many of whom have unparalleled track records of investing in leading internet businesses in emerging markets, and seeing those companies through to become the core of internet ecosystems in each market."

In August last year, Grab raised $350 million in its Series E funding round from investors in China and the US, including US investment firm Coatue Management, China's sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corporation, and rival Didi Kuaidi.

Since then, Grab, previously GrabTaxi, has nearly quadrupled its total number of drivers and active users, as well as rides volume. The company said its Grab app has been downloaded onto over 21 million mobile devices and users have access to over 400,000 drivers.

Chinese ride-booking company Didi Chuxing announced it was merging with Uber China last month under a $35 billion deal that will see the rivals -- worth $28 billion and $7 billion, respectively -- join forces.

While Uber declined to comment on the matter, Uber China investors will have a 20 percent stake in the new company, according to an unnamed source.

Under the deal, Didi will also invest $1 billion in Uber's global operations.

The merger follows the revelation in February this year that Uber was spending up to $1 billion each year in China to compete with its rivals there.

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