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SE Asian startup GrabTaxi bags additional funding

Zafar Anjum | April 8, 2014
Attracts funding from Temasek Holdings’ subsidiary Vertex Ventures Holdings and some angel investors; appoints CIMB bank its main financier


GrabTaxi's founder and Group CEO Anthony Tan flanked by Chua Kee Lock, Group President and CEO of Vertex Venture Holdings (right) and Dato' Lee Kok Kwan, CEO--Corporate Banking, Treasury and Markets, CIMB Bank (left)

South East Asian startup GrabTaxi, the region's first smartphone to smartphone cab booking app, has secured additional funding from investors including Vertex Ventures Holdings.

This was announced today by GrabTaxi founder and Group CEO Anthony Tan in Singapore.

Vertex Ventures Holdings is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Singapore government's investment arm, Temasek Holdings.

"GrabTaxi is a startup that has shown tremendous potential and we are confident that it will continue to dominate the taxi booking industry," said Chua Kee Lock, Group President and CEO of Vertex Venture Holdings.

According to Tan, some angel investors have also provided funding to the company and Malaysian bank CIMB has been appointed the main financier by GrabTaxi.

However, the investment figure was not revealed by Tan.

Investing in local talent

"GrabTaxi is now in 5 countries and 12 cities," said Tan. "From our humble beginnings, GrabTaxi has become the largest and most widely used taxi booking mobile app in the region."

The GrabTaxi concept was developed by two ex-Harvard Business School students back in 2011 to create safer and reliable rides. It started in Kuala Lumpur and now has operations in Singapore, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. The app has been downloaded 1 million times and there is one booking made with this app every 2 seconds.

"With the additional funds, we will be able to hire more local talent in the respective countries," said Tan. "We continue to invest in the best local talent in each market because we want to build a world class team that responds to local demands".

"Most of our team members have driven a cab, at least for one day," Tan said. Tan also proudly told the media that his grandfather was a taxi driver.

Rising popularity of the app

Tan said that because of the hard work of the GrabTaxi team and its rising popularity among taxi drivers and passengers,  more than 250,000 people in the region use this app at least once a month.

"Our biggest sales agents are not our staff but the taxi drivers," Tan said. This is because taxi drivers see tangible benefits of using the GrabTaxi app, he explained. Taxi drivers report 30% to 300% rise in their income when they use the app, he said.

In Singapore, GrabTaxi as a platform (virtual fleet) has the second largest number of drivers.






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