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Didi and SoftBank are investing $2 billion in ride-hail company Grab

Grab’s valuation is nearing $6 billion.

Didi President Jean Liu and Grab CEO Anthony Tan
Asa Mathat

China-based ride-hail player Didi Chuxing and SoftBank are investing a combined $2 billion in Grab, the dominant ride-hail startup in Southeast Asia.

The startup also expects to raise an additional $500 million from other investors as part of this round. Provided it closes the additional sum, the company’s valuation would top $6 billion, according to a source familiar with Grab’s fundraising.

The company, founded in 2012, has plans to use the new infusion of cash to scale geographically and grow its mobile payment service GrabPay.

Both Didi and SoftBank have long-standing relationships with Grab, formerly known as GrabTaxi. Didi, which bought Uber’s China business in August 2016, first invested in Grab back in 2015 in its first step toward establishing what became known as the global anti-Uber alliance — a knowledge-sharing coalition that consisted of Didi, Grab, India’s Ola and Lyft.

SoftBank, for its part, first led Grab’s $250 million Series D in 2014.

Grab currently operates in 65 cities across seven countries and provides close to three million rides a day across Southeast Asia, according to the company. Grab, which also has funding from Uber investor Tiger Global, claims that it currently controls 95 percent of the taxi-hailing market and 71 percent of the ride-hailing market across the region.

Grab isn’t the only ride-hail company Didi has put its money in. In addition to separate investments in India’s Ola and Lyft, Didi also recently led a $100 million round in Brazilian ride-hail player 99 — formerly known as 99Taxis. The company says it wants to create a “global mobility ecosystem,” according to a release.

SoftBank, too, has become a major player in the transportation space. Last week, the firm co-led a $159 million round in self-driving tech company Nauto along with Greylock ventures. SoftBank is also tied up in Ola as well as 99Taxis.

According to a spokesperson, this round is the largest round of financing in the history of Southeast Asia.

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