Toyota Plans Billion-Dollar Investment in Ride-Hailing Startup Grab

Cornelia Mascio
Giugno 13, 2018

The carmaker first invested an undisclosed amount in Grab in August past year, after it invested in US-based Uber in 2016 in a partnership for a financing programme that allowed Uber drivers to lease vehicles from Toyota and drive for Uber to cover the payments.

Data collected from the recorders could also help Toyota in its own development of next-generation mobility services, including a self-driving electric vehicle it plans to develop for companies to use for tasks such as ride-hailing, package delivery and mobile shops.

Grab operates across Asia and agreed to acquire Uber's Southeast Asian business earlier this year.

Toyota is investing as a lead investor in Grab's ongoing financing round, Grab said in a statement on Wednesday (June 13). When Grab claimed the Softbank investment of $US250 million in 2014, it was at the time the largest made into a South East Asian internet company on public record. It raised $2.5 billion in its last round in July, resulting in a reported value of $6 billion.

A man walks past a Grab office in Singapore March 26, 2018.

Grab says that this investment allows it to further expand its range of O2O services, such as GrabFood and GrabPay, deeper into the region.

Grab said it logs six million rides a day via apps downloaded onto over 100 million mobile devices.

Since August 2017, Toyota and Grab have been developing connected services for the latter, utilising driving data collected by Toyota's TransLog data-transmission driving recorder.

"We will work with partners like Toyota to continue to transform transportation in Southeast Asia", Grab said in an email.

From its beginnings as a taxi-booking app - its original name is GrabTaxi - the company is morphing into an online platform for connecting users and offline services, and is venturing into financial services and venture capital.

Grab will work with Toyota on how connected vehicle services on the Toyota Mobility Service Platform - such as user-based insurance, financing programme and predictive maintenance - can enrich the Grab experience for drivers on the Grab platform.

One Toyota executive will be appointed to Grab's board of directors and a dedicated Toyota team member will be seconded to Grab as an executive officer. Hyundai is another automotive firm that has backed Grab.

Last month, Indonesian ride-hailing and online payment firm Go-Jek said it would enter Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines in the next few months, investing $500 million in its global push. Uber acquired 27.5 percent of Grab in exchange for the US firm's Southeast Asian business earlier this year.

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