Jon Russell, Asia-based writer for TechCrunch
Grab, Uber’s closest rival in Southeast Asia, continues to slowly release information about its newest funding round after it revealed it has netted a strategic investment from Hyundai.
To recap, the Singapore-based firm raised a massive $2 billion led by SoftBank and China’s Didi Chuxing last July with plans to extend the round by a further $500 million. Back in August, it revealed that Toyota was one contributor — via its Next Technology Fund — and now the Korean automaker has joined the party via a deal that, like Toyota’s, is undisclosed.
While not forthcoming on the size of the investment, Grab said it plans to work with Hyundai on a number of initiatives that will include a new service based around its electric vehicles. That will feature the IONIQ Electric, the model which Hyundai used as part of WaiveCar’s car-sharing platform in Los Angeles.
Grab has run autonomous vehicle pilots in Singapore with MIT-spinout Nutonomy — which is now owned by Delphi — and it is also working with Drive.ai following an investment in the U.S. startup, but it hasn’t done much with EVs thus far.
Hyundai also has services operational in the Netherlands and Austria, but a partnership with Grab — which claims 2.3 million drivers and 77 million consumer app downloads — would represent its most significant consumer exposure to date.
Uber doesn’t provide comparative figures for its business in Southeast Asia, but Grab appears — at this point — to be ahead in a region that is widely seen as nascent but with growth potential.
Southeast Asia as a cumulative population of more than 600 million consumers with internet adoption growing fast to bring a total of 330 million people online, that’s more than the entire U.S. population. Ride-hailing is predicted to grow into a $20.1 billion per year industry by 2025 up from $5.1 billion in 2017, according to a report co-authored by Google.
Grab said it completed its billionth ride in November. The company, which is valued at $6 billion by investors, has expanded beyond rides to offer a mobile payments service in Singapore that it plans to expand to more markets this year.