Grab bags US$1.5b from SoftBank's Vision Fund, sets sights on more funding

Grab bags US$1.5b from SoftBank's Vision Fund, sets sights on more funding

A Grab taxi drives on a street in Hanoi
A Grab taxi drives on a street in Hanoi, Vietnam Oct 29, 2018. (Photo: Reuters/Kham)

SINGAPORE: Grab said on Wednesday (Mar 6) that it has secured US$1.46 billion of fresh funding from Softbank Vision Fund, which it intends to use to expand its services both at its home base in Singapore and in Indonesia.

It is also considering raising more funds from strategic investors, the president of Southeast Asia's top ride-hailing firm told Reuters.

"We continue to see just a tremendous amount of investor interest around the world, and we may consider upsizing this financing in the future," said Ming Maa, a former SoftBank executive, who was instrumental in SoftBank's earlier investments in Grab before joining the startup in 2016.

Maa, 42, said Grab was keen to tie up with more partners that could provide the company with a complementary set of technologies or services to help it expand its offerings.

The fresh capital from Softbank Vision Fund takes the total financing secured in Grab’s current Series H round to more than US$4.5 billion.

Other investors in this round include Toyota Motor, Oppenheimer Funds, Hyundai Motor Group, Booking Holdings, Microsoft, Ping An Capital and Yamaha Motor.

The financing round kicked off shortly after ride-hailing giant Uber surrendered its Southeast Asian operations to Grab in March 2018 after a costly battle and in return took a 27.5 per cent stake in Grab's business.

Citing a valuation of US$11 billion, research firm CB Insights had ranked Grab among the top 15 unicorns globally before the announcement of the latest funding from SoftBank.

Maa said Grab is not focused on an IPO even as US ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft kicked off the process to list this year. "It is accurate to say we are absolutely not focused on an IPO or an IPO timeline right now," Maa said.

"For now, we are all heads down focused on growing the market, growing the business as opposed to a capital markets transaction," he said.

"SUPER APP VISION"

Grab said in a press release that it intends to use the funds to "advance its super app vision in Southeast Asia", and has plans to expand its verticals such as financial services, food delivery, parcel delivery, content and digital payments.

It also intends to roll out new services announced in 2018, including on-demand video, digital healthcare, insurance, and hotel bookings.

READ: Grab to enter on-demand grocery delivery space with GrabFresh service

A "significant" portion of the fresh proceeds will be set aside to expand its business in Indonesia, where it has 60 per cent of the two-wheel market and 70 per cent of the four-wheel market.

"Grab’s Indonesian business is expanding rapidly, with revenue more than doubling in 2018. Grab will use the fresh capital to boost the expansion of GrabFood and GrabExpress and roll out new verticals in the country," it said in the release.

GrabFood is currently available in 178 Indonesian cities, up from 13 cities at the start of last year.

Source: Reuters/CNA/aj

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