According to a report in The Financial Times, Grab said SoftBank’s Vision Fund accounted for a third of the investment. The ride-hailing startup said the most recent fundraising effort was the largest private investment round to hit Southeast Asia. Of the funding, $1.5 billion comes from the Vision Fund. The company’s president, Ming Maa, said the company is still receiving a lot of interest from investors and could take on more funding this year. Grab “look[s] forward to welcoming more global industry leaders as partners in 2019,” Maa said in a statement, reported The Financial Times. Meanwhile, Masayoshi Son, Softbank’s chief executive said in a statement the company is excited to be part of Grab’s journey as it expands.
While Grab is still the leading player in the ride-hailing market in Southeast Asia, it is facing intense competition from the likes of Go-Jek, which has the backing of Google, Tencent, and Temasek. Go-Jek has entered the Vietnam, Singapore and Thailand markets in the past six months, encroaching on Grab. Grab told the FT proceeds from the latest capital fundraising will go to create a so-called super app that can be used across Southeast Asia. It wants to create a platform that offers everything from hailing a ride to purchasing insurance and making digital payments.
In an interview with Reuters, Maa said Grab wants to ink more partnerships that could provide complementary technology or services so that it can expand the services it offers consumers. Prior to the capital raise, Grab had a valuation around $11 billion — but sources told Reuters that has now increased to around $14 billion. Grab declined to comment on its valuation, but Maa told Reuters the company isn’t eyeing an IPO even if Uber and Lyft in the U.S. plan to launch IPOs at some point in 2019. “It is accurate to say we are absolutely not focused on an IPO or an IPO timeline right now,” Maa said in the Reuters interview. “For now, we are all heads down focused on growing the market, growing the business as opposed to a capital markets transaction,” he said.