Manila’s ride-hailing app U-Hop raises $7.4m, to expand to Asian markets

Visual from company's Facebook page.

U-Hop, an app-based ride-sharing service in the Philippines, has secured investments in the region of $7.4 million with which it will expand its operations in major cities in Asia.

The latest development follows U-Hop’s legal-accreditation by the Philippines’ Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) last week. It is now the third ride hailing app in the country to get the approval, after Uber and Grab.

According to a Tech in Asia report, quoting U-Hop founder Marvin Dela Cruz, the transport app received $2 million from a Philippine corporation with diversified interests. They also signed up $5.4 million with a Manila-based boutique investment banking firm Asian Alliance Investment Corp, according to the report.

Armed with the funding, U-Hop is now looking beyond its home market to service geographies such as Japan, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, China, and India.

Also Read: Philippines transport board puts brakes on GrabJeep, tags it ‘illegal’

The firm will also invest in hiring a larger team, IT infrastructure and in forging new partnerships.

U-Hop claims around 550,000 passengers now regularly take its shuttle service. Compared with rival ride hailing apps Uber and Grab that accommodate one user at a time in every vehicle, U-Hop utilises vans which allow seven commuters on a single trip.

The company’s shuttle service currently covers Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, and also the provinces of Bulacan, Rizal, and Laguna.

U-Hop also offers “luxury services” like charter planes, choppers, yacht, including Jet Ski.

The all-Filipino corporation is a pilot project of Shangrilacars. Its app is able to monitor the computer box of each of its U-Hop vehicles so they can check fuel, door lock, location and speed. The company can control the computer box to stop a vehicle’s functions in case it is stolen.

Also Read: GrabBike suspends services in Philippines. Refutes authorities claim its operations are ‘illegal’

U-Hop is partnered with over 39 banks to make it easy for customers to pay for using their services. Aside from its scheduled and paid for in advance trips, U-Hop offers an on-demand option metered like an ordinary taxi service that charges a fixed rate.

Also Read:

Philippines becomes first country to legalise ridesharing services; SG passes Bill to regulate third-party taxi apps

Uber kick-starts motorbike taxi service with Bangkok as global launch pad

Malaysia’s GrabTaxi kicks off courier biz in Philippines

GrabTaxi invests $6m in safety features, to be rolled out regionally

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.