Grab, the Uber rival in Southeast Asia, has scooped up a strategic investment that could help it expand its pools of drivers to battle rival services.
Financial services firm Tokyo Century has invested an undisclosed sum in the company as part of a deal that Grab said will additional rental, leasing and financing options for its fleet of drivers. In other words, the Japanese firm will offer packages to help Grab drivers buy/own their own car outright. Uber has offered leasing options in numerous markets since the summer of 2015.
Grab closed a $750 million Series F financing round in October, and it is likely that Tokyo Century has invested at that same $3 billion valuation.
The Singapore-based company is present in 34 cities in six countries in Southeast Asia, across which it claims over 24 million app downloads and a pool of more than 500,000 drivers. Its services include licensed taxis, private cars, motorbikes and more. The Tokyo Century partnership will be in effect across all these countries, Grab confirmed.
“Through our partnership, we will accelerate the growth of our business through new types of mobility, such as ride-hailing, develop financial services using the advanced technology of Grab’s digital platform, and expand our auto finance business across Southeast Asia,” Grab President Ming Maa, who joined from investor SoftBank in October, said in a statement.
Financial services are a key driver to attracting more drivers to the Grab platform, but on the consumer side Grab is also pushing the digital envelope, too. The firm is developing a mobile payments platform that it hopes will help consumers get into digital payments, while increasing their engagement with Grab’s app and services. Just this week, Grab introduced credit storing in its GrabPay service, a key component to any mobile wallet service.