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.
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.
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.