Grab, formerly known as GrabTaxi and the largest company rivaling Uber in Southeast Asia has raised an amount of US$750 million in their Series F investment rounds. The oversubscribed funding was said to be led by Japan’s SoftBank and China’s Didi Kuaidi.
This achievement is quite the milestone for the company which has launched in 2012, as with the closure of this new round of funding, the top ride-hailing app is now at a valuation of US$2.3billion, as reported by TechCrunch, making it the second largest tech company in Southeast Asia, after Garena which was reported to be at US$3.75 billion.
The funds collected will be dedicated to several projects promoting market expansion as well as localized service, an insight that Grab founder and chief executive, Anthony Tan says is the key to consolidate and expand their spot in the Southeast Asia region.
“There is a clear advantage of being local which brought us to form global partnerships that include other local players”, said Anthony in a CNBC interview. “It’s about the reliance on their better understanding of local knowledge and also a way in how we make sure that users stay exclusively on our platform, never having the need to move to another app.”
Thus, looking at Grab’s partnerships with China’s Didi Kuaidi, India’s Ola and U.S.-based Lyf, it is a view that covers a broader market paired with local expertise. In this case, Uber will have to step up its game faced with this intense competition, furthermore aided by this dose of cash injection.
But ultimately, for Grab, the funds will not only be able to strengthen their ability to pursue their long-term goals, of continuing market penetration and leadership but also to construct their startup vision as well, and that is “to drive Southeast Asia transportation forward and transform the region’s mobile internet ecosystem”.
Offering car, motorbike and taxi-hailing services in a total of 31 cities in 6 countries, Grab is an online transportation network and technology company that offers ride-sharing services in the Southeast Asia region which includes countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Philippines.
JoJonomic is an Indonesian startup that got their breakthrough when participating in Google’s launch pad accelerator in January 2016. One of just eight Indonesian companies selected, their expense management software stood out.
Originally designed to help everyday people keep track of the day-to-day expenses by using a smartphone app to digitize receipts, tickets and more, offsetting income against expenses, they have now added business functionality that will allow the app to function effectively as software-as-a-service for businesses.
Streamlining Company Expense Management
The app is designed to streamline the process of reimbursing staff for their expenses. Individuals digitize their receipts and tickets as they normally would through the app, then send a request to the relevant department. Someone at the department then receives a notification, reviews the claim and either approves or refuses the request.
Because everything happens inside one app, it means less can be lost or miscommunicated across multiple emails, software, accounting processes and so on.
Business To Business
The company will continue offering its consumer based expense management system, which can track expenditure and income on behalf of users.
Where they’ll make their money is through their business to business offer, which will help small businesses manage expense claims as effectively and quickly as possible. The business to business application is currently aimed at small businesses, but scalability and enterprise features are reportedly in the pipeline to make the app more attractive to businesses of all sizes.
The company’s customers are currently all in Indonesia, and many of them are start-ups. What they lack in prestige clients they more than make up for in volume: more than forty companies now use the app as their standard expense management system, showing what they have built has proven itself in the open market. Of these, Go-Jek, Lazada, and Kudo are the ones you’ve probably heard of.
While they’re heavily invested in Indonesia right now, the opening of a new office in Singapore is making increasingly likely that the company will be looking to larger international markets for users sooner rather than later. This successful investment is also designed to be used for expansion, making now the time to get on board.
Series A Investors
This funding round was led by Maloekoe Ventures, and has attracted investment from Golden Gate Ventures, Fenox Venture Capital, and East Venture among others. This is likely because, with language support, the basic architecture of software as a service can very easily be adapted for multinational use, meaning the sky is the limit for the product if successful.
Maloekoe Ventures have gone on record saying the product has impressed them, and has their faith moving forward. Themselves a fledgling investment fund, they are sure to have wanted a sure thing to back in their first big play, and that should give people cause for confidence.
Bill Maris, who founded GV (Google Ventures) in 2009, recently stepped down to allegedly spend more time with his wife and son as well as consider new ideas. A recent report states that Maris is now in talks to raise $500 Million for his own fund. Confirmation of the reports is still pending.
Bill Maris was succeeded by David Krane, who had previously spent nearly 10 years as Google’s Director of Public Affairs and Global Communications. Today GV employs 70, almost all in the United States, with several partners in London and is exceptionally diversified including interests from the food industry to primary medical care.
Considering Bill Maris education in neuroscience, his interest run the gamut, but life sciences seem to intrigue him, meaning any new fund under his direction would have a broad range of interests involved.
Razer is a company that has been making gaming peripherals and hardware for almost twenty years now. Razer recently caused considerable excitement by entering the software market, and this looks as if it could be the start of an exponential broadening of their horizons.
The company has now created zVentures, a venture capitalist funding group designed with the future of tech in mind. They are looking to fund ambitious new projects covering the Internet of Things, Gaming and Virtual Reality.
Out Of Many, One
The company already had a $5 million fund for an open source compatible VR headset and another to push the boundaries of Android gaming. These will now be part of zVentures, enabling a broader strategic overview on where all the money is going, and making smarter connections across the company’s networks and touchpoints.
Much More Than Money
What will be exciting for developers is that a successful bid will not only give them access to the funding they need to develop their idea, but also the infrastructure and expertise of the company, their hardware and software development capabilities and more, including retail distribution on a global scale.
A Model That Works
Razer aren’t the first company to do this. HTC have made big waves by getting into the VR game with the Vive, which looks like it may pay dividends. Intel Capital and Slack Fund are both branches of conventional IT businesses that aim to attract and develop potential business partners. Razer are not to be sniffed at however, with access to 20 million active product users.
Back End Funds
The company aren’t only looking for their next flashy tech innovation – they’re also looking at funding back end optimization tools including supply chain management, sales and marketing approaches, and more. They are aware they have to continually evolve their own business practice, not just their products, to stay ahead.
A Connected World
While VR and Gaming seem obvious, the choice to invest innovations around the Internet of Things is a fascinating and exciting development, and one that takes this new to the next level. Installing everyday devices with network connectivity and ‘smart’ functions that send and receive data will allow more customizable environments and interactions than ever before. The applications of this to VR and augmented reality are only just beginning to be explored, but Razer clearly want to get ahead of the curve.
A Start Up With Titan Backing
If asked to name the one titan of the computing hardware industry, you’d probably say Intel. Well good news! Intel is on board, and even raised a round of investment for Razer which included Accel, IDG, LianLuo and more. With international investment in Razer, and many of the same investors chipping into the zVentures pot, the reach of any product successfully funded by the project increases exponentially.
Companies that join Razer will therefore be able to pick up best practices from a company that itself used to be a start-up.
The day is nearly upon you – a tweet orders your favorite pizza, your Apple Watch places your Buy Stock transaction, you automatically add the song playing in your favorite restaurant to your Spotify playlist. That’s right – as your favorite brands adopt the latest mobile app technology to further engage you – App Downloads in the next four years will likely top 280 billion according to the latest prediction by App Annie.
At the end of 2015, worldwide app downloads topped the 112 billion mark, 50 percent of which are attributed to Asian markets, according to App Annie’s latest statistics. App Annie’s forecasts for 2016 include a rise to near 150 billion, with more than half from Asian markets. The final prediction for the year 2020, indicates downloads near 288 billion – Asia’s share estimated at 60 percent of that total.
Of course, App Annie offers this sound advice; downloads are just the beginning of monetization, usage follows with customer engagement and retention.
App Annie, founded in Beijing, knows the reality of exploding app market and features a global team spanning a multitude of countries and cultures delivering solutions to today’s greatest data challenges.
As the app market expands, App Annie notes that in only two years, the app marketplace has grown over 100 percent. People, all over the world, from the U.S. to Indonesia, and everywhere in between, spend 51 minutes of every hour on their mobile devices in apps and that number is quickly rising.
Games apps are no longer the biggest player in the app world as communication apps growth is at 100 percent, social apps at 120 percent growth, and video/media apps are growing at a whopping 200 percent.
The exponential growth does not stop there, global businesses are utilizing apps for marketing and sales of new products and services, and expanding into ticket sales, support services, and media streaming. Banking is poised for exceptional growth as sessions in the top banking apps as banks realize, not only is the service popular among the under 25 crowd, but older users are attracted to the convenience as well. For banks this means huge cost savings with fewer outlets and employees, allowing them to compete more effectively with mobile only financial tech start-ups.
Alongside banking, retail establishments and restaurants, are also poised for incredible growth in the years ahead.
While today, WhatsApp, Messenger, and Facebook rank among the highest used apps worldwide, Snapchat, Uber, Google Maps, and a vast array of retail and commercial apps are leading the way for the app revolution to come – 280 billion downloads strong.