Grab, the ride-hailing company competing with Uber in Southeast Asia, has pulled in $2 billion of new financing from existing investors Didi Chuxing, the company that defeated Uber in China, and SoftBank. Didi said the round could expand by $500 million more with input from other existing backers and new investors, too. A Grab representative confirmed that SoftBank’s Vision fund is not part of the current commitment, it is coming from SoftBank Group Corp.
A source confirmed that this new money gives Grab a post-money valuation of more than $6 billion. That’s more than double the $3 billion valuation that Grab commanded from its most recent round of funding in September 2016, when it raised $750 million.
“We are delighted to deepen our strategic partnership with DiDi and SoftBank. We’re encouraged that these two visionary companies share our optimism for the future of Southeast Asia and its on-demand transportation and payments markets, and recognize that Grab is ideally positioned to capitalize on the massive market opportunities,” said Anthony Tan, group CEO and co-founder of Grab.
Essentially, both Didi and SoftBank are doubling down on the belief that Grab has what it takes to defeat Uber in Southeast Asia, the same way that Didi did in China when Uber agreed to sell its local business last August. That hope of defeating the U.S. firm was reignited this month when Uber agreed to sell its business in Russia to local rival Yandex.
“Starting with transport, Grab is establishing a clear leadership in Southeast Asia’s internet economy based on its market position, superior technology, and truly local insight,” Cheng Wei, founder and CEO of Didi, added via a statement that is fairly damning of Uber. (Didi is an investor in Uber by virtue of the China acquisition deal.) Grab operates in 36 cities across seven countries in Southeast Asia, where it claims over 50 million downloads from users and 1.1 million drivers on its platform. Its services are primarily focused on licensed taxis and private cars, but Grab also offers motorbike taxis, shuttle bus services and carpooling in a selection of countries.
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