Japan’s SoftBank invests US$250m in MyTeksi

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KUALA LUMPUR: Taxi booking mobile application operator GrabTaxi Holdings Pte Ltd, known locally as MyTeksi, has secured a US$250 million (RM862.5 million) investment from SoftBank Corp, a Japanese telecommunications and Internet company that was one of the early investors in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.

In a joint media statement with SoftBank Internet and Media Inc (Simi) yesterday, MyTeksi said the investment makes SoftBank its largest investor.

“We are thankful that they believe in us and will leverage SoftBank’s expertise and group synergies across their mobile and Internet platforms to further accelerate our growth,” said MyTeksi founder and group chief executive officer (CEO) Anthony Tan.

“This new round of funding will help drive our mission of revolutionising and improving the way Southeast Asians commute more aggressively than ever before,” he added.

Launched in 2012, MyTeksi currently serves 17 cities across 6 countries in Southeast Asia, including Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia.

“In two short years, MyTeksi has become the dominant player in Southeast Asia’s taxi-booking mobile app industry, which is a testament to Anthony’s outstanding leadership,” SoftBank vice-chairman and Simi CEO Nikesh Arora said.

Through this strategic investment and partnership, SoftBank Group aims to further build its presence in Southeast Asia and maximise synergies with its network of Internet companies around the world, the statement read.

It also noted that with this latest — and largest — investment, MyTeksi had cumulatively attracted almost US$340 million (RM1.17 billion) in the last 14 months.

MyTeksi said it has continued to dominate the Southeast Asian market in the last year. Its active users now stand at over 500,000, an exponential 500% jump from 12 months (November 2013) earlier. Downloads of the MyTeksi app has also leapt by 400% in the same period to hit 2.5 million. Taxi drivers have also embraced the app, with their numbers increasing by almost 300% to 60,000.

The group estimates that there are three taxi bookings made through its app every second across the region, which is almost an 800% increase from a year ago.

“Growth remains a key focus for MyTeksi and we now have a considerable war chest to accelerate our rapid expansion in Southeast Asia,” MyTeksi group vice-president of marketing Cheryl Goh said.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on December 5, 2014.