Japanese multinational conglomerate SoftBank is reportedly to funnel another US$1 billion from its Vision Fund into Southeast Asia O2O platform Grab, stepping the latter’s ongoing Series H round up a notch, from previously targeted US$3 billion to up to US$5 billion, according to various reports.
SoftBank’s interest in Grab began back in 2014 when it made its first US$250 million investment. Amongst all the other subsequent investments, SoftBank joined hands with Didi Chuxing to make a strategic investment of US$2 billion in 2017, paving the way that led to Grab’s acquisition of Uber’s Southeast Asia operations earlier this year.
The O2O giant has signed up a roster of big name investors for its current Series H financing round, including Booking Holdings, Toyota, Microsoft etc. Overall, the O2O giant has raised up to US$6.8 billion thus far, per CrunchBase data. While no date is set for SoftBank’s latest plans, the additional funding could be useful to put Grab in a better position amidst rising competition from arch-rival Go-Jek and its bold expansion plans.
Established in 2012, Grab has grown from offering GrabTaxi – a very specific ride-hailing service – to a multitude of other different kinds of services such as micro-lending, mobile payments, on-demand food delivery to even on-demand concierge services in 235 cities across 8 countries in the Southeast Asia region. It is essentially making huge strides to achieve its vision of becoming the region’s everyday app.
Competition in the region is accelerating, as expected. Archrival Go-Jek has embarked on expanding its huge range of on-demand services from ride-hailing, payments to other fintech services beyond its domestic market. The targeted markets include Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines. As a matter of fact, Go-Jek has launched its beta version in Singapore and will officially ride into the sunny island in 2019. Grab, on the other hand, is set on being laser-focused on the Indonesian market for 2019.
SoftBank’s ambition for a larger slice in the entire global ride-hailing market is getting more apparent. In addition to increasing Vision Fund’s stake into Southeast Asia’s Grab, it is also looking to move its other portfolio companies like Uber, Didi, Ola etc all into the same fund, according to SoftBank’s latest financial report.
Editor: Ben Jiang