Grab backs $8m Series A round for London-based Splyt Technologies

Southeast Asia’s ride-hailing unicorn Grab has participated in the $8-million Series A round of London-based global mobility marketplace Splyt Technologies to enhance its services across the world, it said in a statement on Tuesday.

Currently, Splyt is working with Booking Holdings to integrate ride-hailing into its online travel agency platforms. Booking.com consumers will be able to book Grab rides through the online travel platform’s mobile app by the third quarter of this year.

Grab and Splyt already enable travellers to book Grab rides across 336 cities in eight Southeast Asian markets through various apps, including Ctrip and AliPay.

The second phase of the partnership will integrate Splyt and Grab’s global network of mobility partners into the Grab app. Grab users travelling beyond Southeast Asia can continue to book rides through the Grab app, and have them fulfilled by Splyt’s partners.

“This partnership will unlock a world of options for the increasingly well-travelled Southeast Asian, letting them roam easily across the world through an app they already know and trust. At the same time, we’re excited to enable more international travellers to explore the beauty and diversity of Southeast Asia through safe and efficient transport options, whether in a taxi, private car, or even local favourites such as TukTuks and motorbikes,” said Grab chief technology officer for transport Mark Porter, who will have a seat on the board of Splyt.

Founded in 2015, Splyt claims to be the world’s largest and first B2B mobility marketplace, connecting supply and demand for ground-based transport. Its single-connectivity solution is said to have reached 1.5 billion users in over 50 countries. It gives its partners access to ride-hailing inventory in over 1,000 cities, without needing to download or register with additional apps.

“Our partnership with Grab is driven by a shared vision of offering seamless mobility that caters to the demands and needs of global travellers. As a global leading mobility marketplace, Splyt will continue to maintain its neutrality and agility, while leveraging on Grab’s regional footprint to enhance our capabilities. This will take both companies further in our journeys to solve existing pain points for travellers,” said Splyt CEO Philipp Mintchin.

The fresh capital from the Series A round will be used to accelerate Splyt’s expansion into new markets, improve its proprietary technology, and strengthen its wide network of institutional demand and supply partners for ground-based transportation.

Splyt claims the round was the largest-ever raised in the transportation connectivity platform segment, bringing total funds raised by the startup to over $14 million. According to Crunchbase, the startup last raised a $4.6 million seed round in late 2016.

Grab had made a similar-style investment in April. The ride-hailing major made an undisclosed investment in Ninja Van as part of a strategic partner that helps Grab to expand its logistics service in Southeast Asia.

DEALSTREETASIA recently reported that Grab is exploring the option to raise capital for its e-scooter rental unit GrabWheels – a similar move that it is exploring for its financial services unit Grab Financial.

GrabWheels is a relatively new vertical under Grab Ventures, its venture building arm. It launched the beta version of its service last November at the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Kent Ridge campus. Last month, GrabWheels launched a subscription plan for its food delivery partners in Singapore, citing strong interest from GrabFood’s merchant partners.