Grab, Uber Technologies Inc.’s largest rival in Southeast Asia, plans to raise more than $1.5 billion in a new funding round backed by SoftBank Group Corp., people familiar with the matter said.
SoftBank is pledging about $1 billion in the ride-sharing company backed by Tiger Global Management and GGV Capital, the people said, asking not to be named because the matter is private. It wasn’t clear if the money was coming from the Japanese company itself or its yet-to-close SoftBank Vision Fund. Grab’s financing could be a record for Southeast Asia, eclipsing the $750 million the company raised in September in a round said to give it a then valuation of more than $3 billion.
Grab, which this week announced plans to expand to its seventh country in the region, is racing against Uber and Go-Jek Indonesia PT to cast its net across more cities and drum up business for its nascent payments platform. The companies have been engaged in a cash-burning battle underpinned by their ability to raise funds and expand in one of the fastest growing markets globally.
It’s hiring more than 800 new research and development staff in six centers over the next two years, including new facilities in Bangalore and Ho Chi Minh City. The company has said it is willing to set aside much as $100 million to bankroll early-stage startups in mobile and financial services technology in Indonesia.