The Business Times

Two homegrown start-ups raise record Series B funding

GrabTaxi secures more than US$15m; Green Koncepts raises several million dollars

Published Thu, May 29, 2014 · 10:00 PM
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[SINGAPORE] Two homegrown start-ups - a taxi-booking mobile app and an energy management solutions provider - have raised record Series B funding that will allow them to accelerate regional expansion and product development plans.

GrabTaxi, which aims to revolutionise the taxi industry by moving people from street hail to e-hail, has secured more than US$15 million in Series B funding, the highest amount recorded this year.

The round, led by Silicon Valley- based GGV Capital, is also supported by new investor Qunar, a Chinese online travel platform, and existing investor Vertex Venture Holdings, a wholly owned subsidiary of Temasek Holdings.

This comes one month after GrabTaxi raised an "eight-figure" Series A sum - which sources say is close to US$10 million - from Vertex Venture Holdings.

GrabTaxi said the latest round of funding will support its "aggressive growth" into new cities in South-east Asia and extend its "market dominance" through regional driver loyalty and retention programmes.

Aside from expansion, the money will be used to fund social initiatives targeted at improving taxi driver welfare, GrabTaxi said.

"These initiatives will differ from country to country, and we will be rolling them out in stages. We're looking at providing insurance and healthcare coverage, but these will be tailored to the needs of the local market," Anthony Tan, CEO-founder of GrabTaxi, told The Business Times.

When asked if it plans to reward its regular users and differentiate itself from the other taxi apps, Mr Tan said the start-up is exploring ways to do that and will share details at a later date.

To reward new users in Singapore, it will be staging a "GrabTaxiRide Day" for all new users who book a taxi via the app on June 9, where they can enjoy a free taxi ride capped at $15.

The app has a presence in Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

Meanwhile, green tech start-up Green Koncepts has raised "several millions" in its latest round of funding by existing investor Juniper Capital Ventures, and a group of private investors led by Carol Fong, chief executive officer of CIMB Securities.

Ms Fong will join the Green Koncepts board following this latest investment.

With the money, the start-up aims to double its headcount, execute its regional expansion strategy and invest in research and development to create new products that will help consumers make informed decisions to optimise energy.

Said Tan Cheng Gay, chairman and CEO of Juniper Capital Ventures: "We're seeing an explosive opportunity in the Internet of Things and big data analytics worldwide. Green Koncepts' KEM Platform (a real-time energy management platform) provides the missing link to the cloud for sensors and devices in a simple and cost-effective manner. We see great promise and potential for the development of many more cost-effective applications on this platform."

BT understands that since its 2008 launch, Green Koncepts, a finalist at last year's Emerging Enterprise Awards organised by The Business Times and OCBC Bank, has secured some $1 million in seed and Series A funding.

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