“The total investment value is an eight-figure sum (USD),” said Anthony Tan, CEO and Co-Founder, GrabTaxi, in response to e27. The amount is rumoured to be US$10 million, according to sources who told The Star, a Malaysian publication. The Malaysia-based startup today announced at a press event that the Series A funds will come from Singapore’s Temasek Holdings-owned Vertex Venture Holdings, and a group of angel investors from Malaysia.
GrabTaxi, a taxi booking app with a presence in Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, will be using the investment to strengthen its position in existing markets. It will also be investing in local talents in various markets. In addition, users can soon look forward to an even larger base of drivers.
Tan, who bootstrapped the company with US$107,000 from himself and another founder, told e27, “At the moment, our focus is within Southeast Asia.” Since its official launch in Malaysia two years ago, the app has been downloaded over a million times in the region.
According to an official statement, the startup is aiming to see one in two active taxi drivers in Malaysia or the Philippines on its network by end-2014. Currently, it has over 20,000 taxi drivers registered, and 250,000 monthly active users.
“We invest in potential champions which have developed new technology platforms or business models that disrupt the incumbents and old inefficient ways of doing things,” said Chua Kee Lock, Group President and CEO, Vertex Venture Holdings. The investment firm has 14 companies in its current portfolio, and 17 companies in its past portfolio.
Southeast Asia also plays host to many taxi app competitors like Rocket Internet‘s EasyTaxi, and Google-backed Uber. Previously, Uber plays in a different league with the more affluent, but with its latest UberX feature, a low cost service, more commuters are opening their eyes to the beauty that comes in a swanky black car.