Floyd Mayweather, the undefeated boxing legend, is hoping he can land another knockout victory with an investment in the Philippines ride-hailing startup u-Hop, according to the Manila Times.
The investment will be used to expand the service to the United States — bringing the fairly small startup in direct competition with Uber and Lyft. u-Hop will start services in Los Angeles and San Francisco with a launch in Dallas on the horizon.
The company is also eyeing a Southeast Asia expansion with potential launches in Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore.
The company has 10,000 vehicles operating globally and hopes to have 25,000 drivers by the end of the year. By comparison, Grab has about 2.6 million drivers in Southeast Asia while Uber has over 750,000 in the US.
“u-Hop will be number one around the world soon,” Mayweather was quoted as saying.
In March of 2016, u-Hop raised US$7.4 million, money that was to be used to expand regionally.
With Uber leaving Southeast Asia, riders have been complaining about fewer promotions from Grab and there are some concerns in the Philippines that the industry is getting expensive. That being said, companies like u-Hop — and a recent infusion of local competition — are hoping to create enough competition to help make bookings more affordable and efficient.
For Mayweather, it is impossible ignore the comparisons with Manny Pacquiao. The Philippines parallel is obvious but Pacquiao also recently got into startup investing by supporting a Singaporean cryptocurrency startup called GCOX. Pacquiao will soon have his own crypto called PAC coin if things go smoothly.
The Pacquiao vs. Mayweather boxing match in 2015 was one of the most-hyped fights in recent history and was billed ‘The Fight of the Century’. Mayweather, who is undefeated professionally, won the match by decision.
Mayweather’s last fight — and probably his final bout ever — was a boxing match against the UFC superstar Conor McGregor, which he won by TKO.
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