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GrabTaxi gets $15m in fresh capital

GrabTaxi, Southeast Asia's largest taxi-booking mobile phone app, has raised more than US$15 million in a Series B funding.

The round was led by Silicon Valley-based GGV Capital with participation from new investor Qunar and Vertex Venture Holdings, which had led the company's Series A round.

GGV Capital is a $2.2 billion multi-stage venture capital firm based in Silicon Valley and Shanghai. Some of its well-known portfolio companies are Alibaba Group, Square, Flipboard, SoundCloud and YY.

Qunar is the leading search-based, e-commerce platform for the travel industry in China.

Vertex Venture Holdings is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Singapore's Temasek Holding. The new round of funding will support GrabTaxi's aggressive expansion into new cities in Southeast Asia and extend its market dominance through regional driver loyalty and retention programmes.

GrabTaxi works with the taxi ecosystem in the countries it is operating in - Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore - to help drivers enter the new economy while using the latest mobile technologies to make rides safer and more efficient than before. More than 20,000 cabbies have registered with GrabTaxi and the company estimates that one in two active drivers in the region will be on its network next year.

More than 250,000 passengers across 15 cities use the app at least once per month to hail a taxi. Recently GrabTaxi launched a complementary limousine service called GrabCar in several markets. This premium service helps the network reach even further into each market by allowing passengers to book both taxis and limousines through one mobile app.

Anthony Tan, founder and CEO of GrabTaxi, said yesterday that the group was honoured to be included in GGV Capital's portfolio.

"We are also grateful to Vertex Venture for their continued support and confidence by re-investing in GrabTaxi. This funding will drive GrabTaxi closer towards their ultimate goal of changing the way 600 million people move in Southeast Asia."

Jixun Foo, managing partner in GGV Capital's Shanghai office, will join GrabTaxi's board of directors. Foo has more than 12 years' experience working with Asian entrepreneurs and serves on the boards of global companies such as Qunar, Youku-Tudou and Tujia.

He has been annually awarded one of the "Best Venture Capitalists" by Forbes China since 2006.

The funding will also be used for social initiatives aimed at improving the welfare of taxi drivers while building loyalty and retention. Initiatives will be rolled out in stages next quarter.

The GrabTaxi app has been downloaded onto more than 1.2 million mobile devices in over 15 cities in the region and last month they experienced a 38-per-cent increase in the number of rides on the GrabTaxi network.

GrabTaxi's mission is to revolutionise the taxi industry in Southeast Asia. Its core product is a dispatch service with GPS-enhancements, allowing passengers to hail the nearest cab with extreme ease.

Since its founding in 2012, tens of thousands of taxi drivers have been using the GrabTaxi smartphone-based technologies to receive bookings.

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