Toyota investing $1 billion in Grab


Toyota investing $1 billion in Grab

Southeast Asia’s Grab lands $1B from Toyota at a $10B valuation		
		
	Jon Russell

       @	   
   	8 hours

Southeast Asia’s Grab lands $1B from Toyota at a $10B valuation Jon Russell @ 8 hours

The firm also offers online to offline services, such as food delivery and digital payments, which it aims to expand deeper into the region using funds from its latest financing round. Toyota has installed its data recorders in Grab-operated rental cars to collect driving data - a similar strategy it has employed with Japan Taxi, said Bloomberg.

A Toyota executive will be appointed to Grab's board, and another Toyota employee will be seconded to Grab to as an executive officer.

"This investment isn't necessarily about making money, but about getting access to technology that fits in some place in Toyota's broader business", said Edwin Merner, the Tokyo-based president of Atlantis Investment Research Corp., which doesn't own Toyota shares but is invested in Toyota Tsusho.

Uber's Southeast Asian operations were acquired by Grab earlier this year.

"A board seat nearly guarantees that Grab will buy cars from Toyota", said Steve Man, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence in Hong Kong. The data collected is stored on Toyota's proprietary mobility services platform (MSPF), which serves as a form of information infrastructure for connected vehicles. The carmaker first invested an undisclosed amount in Grab in August past year, after it invested in US-based Uber in 2016 in a partnership for a financing programme that allowed Uber drivers to lease vehicles from Toyota and drive for Uber to cover the payments.

Today's announced expansion is aimed at achieving connectivity for Grab's rental auto fleet across Southeast Asia, and at rolling out various connected services throughout the region that use vehicle data stored on Toyota's MSPF.

Through this new agreement, Toyota and Grab plan to shift into full-scale implementation of services they have been developing to customers. Toyota said the Singapore-based startup has big growth potential in a region that is home to around 600 million people. In 2016, General Motors invested US$500 million in Lyft, and Volkswagen also poured US$300 million into Israeli taxi app Gett in the same year.

Other automakers have put money into the ride-hailing industry.

Toyota, the world's most valuable carmaker with a market capitalization of about $221 billion, has sought partnerships with tech companies in a bet that data will be a key part of its future.

"I am delighted that we are strengthening our collaboration, which utilises Toyota's connected technologies, with Grab".

Automotive manufacturer Toyota will invest US$1b in Grab's ongoing funding round as the two companies work together to expand their collaboration in the area of connected cars.

How big is Grab today? The company's app has been downloaded onto over 100 million mobile devices and the firm logs over 6 million rides per day.