GrabTaxi or otherwise know as MyTeksi in Malaysia has revealed that it has raised its largest ever funding to date – over US$350million (RM1.4billion). The Series E round funding comes from Coatue Management, L.L.C. (“Coatue”), a US investment firm; China Investment Corporation (“CIC”), China’s sovereign wealth fund; and Didi Kuadi, along with support from existing shareholders.
With the new injection, GrabTaxi’s total funding has upped to approximately US$700 million, making it one of the best funded startups in the history of Southeast Asia. Not bad at all for Malaysian Harvard Business School graduates Anthony Tan and Hooi Ling Tan who launched MyTeksi in 2012.
Anthony Tan, group CEO and co-founder of GrabTaxi said that the new investment is not only a statement of the company’s dominance in the region, but also the overall growth potential of Southeast Asia on a global level.
Didi Kuaidi’s involvement is an interesting move, it being a dominant taxi-hailing service in China. The company has backing from Capital International Private Equity Fund, Ping An Ventures as well as Alibaba and Tencent among the few. Didi Kuaidi, while in a leading position, continues to battle Baidu-backed Uber Technologies in China.
Cooperation between GrabTaxi and Didi Kuaidi will help enhance growth for both parties and to ultimately deliver better service to customers.
GrabTaxi started out with licensed taxis but has since diversified into Uber-territory with private cars (GrabCar) and even a motorcycle (GrabBike) taxi service in Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand.
It currently serves in 26 cities across six countries in Southeast Asia with over 110,000 drivers in its consolidated fleet.
So why does GrabTaxi need US$700 million?
GrabTaxi may have swollen coffers, but its true mission hasn’t changed. As a social enterprise, it exists to impart positive change in the community by solving the country’s and region’s transportation challenges.
Starting with improving the taxi service, it has moved into the private cars and motorbikes segment to reach people of varying income levels and commuting needs. GrabTaxi claims it has the only app in the region that has its kind of reach and range of transportation choices.
GrabTaxi recently invested RM4.5 million to launch an all-new Elite Drive program – a driver welfare fund. The fund offers RM10,000 worth of benefits including insurance coverage, financial incentives as well as crisis support to participants.
It also donated RM25,000 worth of Popular book vouchers to 500 of its top drivers. Additionally, it contributes to up-skilling and welfare of drivers by providing language classes and free health checks.
Funds will also be used to further develop and improve GrabTaxi’s technology as it expands its engineering offices that spans Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and Beijing.
GrabTaxi is also expanding into new services. Its most recent is a logistics service called GrabExpress which was beta launched in Thailand.
The GrabTaxi app is number one in all markets it has presence in – accumulating over 6.1 million downloads. Commuters make around 11 bookings per second with the most active markets being Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines.