Southeast Asia’s ride-hailing unicorn Grab announced today that Toyota will invest US$1 billion as a lead investor in its ongoing funding round, arguably the largest-ever by an automotive manufacturer in the global ride-hailing sector.

As part of the agreement, the two giants will strengthen and expand their existing collaboration in the area of connected cars to drive the adoption of new mobility solutions across Southeast Asia.

Grab will work with Toyota on how connected car services on the Toyota Mobility Service Platform (MSPF) — such as telematics-based insurance, financing programme and predictive maintenance — could enrich the experience for drivers on the Grab platform. Telematics-based insurance is a recent innovation by auto insurers that more closely aligns driving behaviors with premium rates for auto insurance

This investment will also allow Grab to further expand its range of O2O services, such as GrabFood and GrabPay, deeper into the region.

The transaction is subject to the satisfaction of certain closing conditions.

To deepen the strategic collaboration, one Toyota executive will be appointed to Grab’s Board of Directors and a dedicated Toyota team member will be seconded to Grab as an executive officer.

Grab is the leading O2O mobile platform in Southeast Asia, providing everyday services to consumers. The company claims its app has been downloaded into over 100 million mobile devices, giving passengers access to over 6.6 million drivers and agents, and the region’s largest land transportation fleet delivering over six million rides per day.

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It provides access to transport, food and package delivery, mobile payments and financial services. Grab currently offers services in 217 cities across eight countries — Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia.

Ming Maa, President of Grab, said: “Grab is the first Southeast Asian technology startup to have achieved run rate revenues of over US$1 billion across an installed mobile base of over 100 million users. Our rapid user and revenue growth is a testament to our ability to hyper-localise, efficiently execute and provide the highest efficiency platform in a region as diverse as Southeast Asia.”

Shigeki Tomoyama, Toyota Executive Vice President and President of Toyota’s in-house Connected Car Company, said: “I am delighted that we are strengthening our collaboration, which utilizes Toyota’s connected technologies, with Grab, Southeast Asia’s leading ride-hailing company. Going forward, together with Grab, we will develop services that are more attractive, safe and secure for our customers in Southeast Asia.”