GrabTaxi raises largest round yet, $350m from Coatue, CIC & Didi Kuaidi

Southeast Asia’s largest taxi-hailing company, GrabTaxi Holdings Pte Ltd has raised its largest round of funding yet, a whopping $350 million, led by Coatue Management, LLC, China Investment Corporation (CIC) and Didi Kuaidi.

With this funding, GrabTaxi’s total funding to-date has reached approximately $700 million, making it one of the best funded startups in Southeast Asia.

It had raised a headline-grabbing $250 million Series D round in December 2014, led by Japanese telecom group SoftBank.

The investors this round are Coatue, a US investment firm that invest in technology worldwide; China’s sovereign wealth fund CIC, and China’s taxi-hailing company Didi Kuaidi, along with existing shareholders. CIC has also invested in Didi Kuaidi previously.

Wall Street Journal reported in July that GrabTaxi was raising a $200 million round of funding led by Coatue, valuing the company at over $1.5 billion then. Existing investors – SoftBank and Tiger Global Management LLC, were reported to have participated in that round.

Last week, Wall Street Journal reported that the taxi app company has secured $400 million in a private equity funding round led by CIC, which values GrabTaxi at between $1.6 billion and $1.8 billion, post- funding.

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GrabTaxi group CEO and co-founder Anthony Tan said the investment is not only a statement on the company’s dominance in the region, but also the growth potential of Southeast Asia on a global level.

“GrabTaxi is at the forefront of the startup industry in Southeast Asia and it is a mantle we carry proudly. As one of the leaders in the region we’ve been able to attract top global talent to our brand as well as secure investment from great partners like Coatue and CIC,” he said in a press statement.

On Didi Kuaidi’s investment, Tan added “Didi is the leading player in China with strong multi-product experience. We look forward to working with our peer in China, leveraging off each other’s experience to continually deliver the best service possible”.

Didi Kuaidi president Jean Liu said that the cooperative approach with GrabTaxi, a dominant player in Southeast Asia will enhance both businesses. “Anthony and the team have achieved incredible growth so far, and we look forward to helping continue that momentum.”

Funding new offerings

In the past four months, GrabTaxi has diversified its offering beyond taxis to include private car and motorbike transportation.

The fresh funds will be used to rapidly grow these new offerings to replicate the success of GrabTaxi’s taxi product line, the statement said.

GrabCar, the private hire vehicle service offered, is already available in all countries where GrabTaxi is available, while GrabBike, the motorbike taxi booking service, is currently available in Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand – markets where motorcycle taxis are a very popular form of commuter transportation.

Both GrabCar and GrabBike are offered through the same GrabTaxi mobile app.

“Diversifying into private cars and motorbikes has allowed us to touch people of varying income levels and commuting needs. We are the only app in the region that has such an extensive network and range of transportation choices,” Tan said.

The funds will also be used to further develop GrabTaxi’s technology offering as it continues to invest in expanding its engineering offices that now spans Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and Beijing.

Launched in June 2012, GrabTaxi has continued its aggressive growth throughout Southeast Asia with presence in 26 cities across six countries, including Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, The Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

Its mobile app has already achieved 6.1 million downloads. It has over 110,000 drivers under its banner across Southeast Asia, recording 11 bookings per second.

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