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Fast-growing GrabTaxi raises $15m in additional funding

Southeast Asia's taxi-booking mobile-phone app, GrabTaxi, has raised more than US$15 million (Bt488 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, who previously led the Singapore-based company's Series-A round. GGV Capital managing partner Jixun Foo will join the GrabTaxi's board of directors.

GGV Capital is a $2.2-billion multi-stage venture-capital firm, based in Silicon Valley and Shanghai. Some of its key portfolio businesses include well-known companies such as 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.

GrabTaxi founder and group CEO Anthony Tan said the funding would drive GrabTaxi closer towards its ultimate goal of changing the way 600 million people move in Southeast Asia, the region having twice the population of the United States.

Today, more than 250,000 passengers across 15 cities, including Bangkok, use the app at least once a month to hail a taxi.

More than 20,000 taxi drivers have registered with GrabTaxi and the company estimates that one in two active in the region will be on the GrabTaxi network by the end of next year.

"GrabTaxi aims to help taxi drivers enter the new economy while using the latest mobile technologies to make taxi rides safer and more efficient than before. We recognise and appreciate our drivers for their trust and commitment in us since we started. We are keen to nurture a constant, regular relationship with our drivers, to constantly be talking and engaging them in order for all of us to grow in tandem," said Tan.

Moreover, 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 in the 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 the business experienced a 38-per-cent increase in the number of rides on the GrabTaxi network.

GrabTaxi recently launched a complementary limousine service called GrabCar in several markets. This premium service helps the GrabTaxi network reach even further into each market by giving passengers the opportunity to book both taxis and limousines through one mobile app.


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