India’s Ola Raises $2 Billion From SoftBank, Tencent

Saritha Rai, writing for Bloomberg;

Ola scored $2 billion in new funding from a group of investors including SoftBank Group Corp. and Tencent Holdings Ltd., a person familiar with the matter said, helping bankroll Uber Technologies Inc.’s fiercest rival in India.

Other backers in the ride-hailing startup’s latest financing round included a venture capital fund jointly run by Indian industrialist Ratan Tata and the University of California’s investment arm, as well as several U.S. institutional investors, people familiar with the deal said, asking not to be identified talking about a private deal. The company’s valuation after the financing wasn’t immediately clear.

Money fund their way against Uber!

Singapore Airlines and Grab agree on extensive partnership


Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Grab today announced a partnership to provide customers with more seamless travel experiences. SIA and Grab will integrate their mobile apps to offer enhanced convenience to customers when travelling to the airport in six countries across Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. This marks the coming together of the world’s most awarded airline and Southeast Asia’s leading ride-hailing and payments platform.

Foxconn invests in bike-sharing startup Mobike

Steven Millward, reporting for Tech in Asia;

Weeks after securing US$215 million in funding, Chinese bike-sharing startup Mobike has received investment cash from Foxconn.

The deal, for an undisclosed sum, sees Foxconn helping with manufacturing of the startup’s smart bikes, which can be unlocked, paid for, and locked again using an app. The plan is to double annual production to 10 million as Mobike expands to new cities across China.

Wunder car-pooling service to launch in Cebu

After a successful 2016, the Europe-based Wunder will open its doors and launch the platform in Cebu. If you want to join the Wunder community, you can download app.

Here’s the email statement sent by Wunder Philippines;

Wunder was launched in Metro Manila in February of last year. Within ten short months the community grew to over 200,000 riders and drivers, and over 1,000,000 rides given.

Unlike taxi apps such as Uber or Grab, Wunder drivers are non-profit, offering up empty seats in their cars on the way to the office with minimal detour.

The most popular professions among Wunder drivers are IT/Engineering, Financial Services and Management.

The average driver in 2016 shared 14 rides per month and saved between 3,000 and 5,000 pesos per month.

The total savings for car owners who share seats consistently with 2-3 passengers can add up quickly: over 50,000 pesos in one year!!

80% of active drivers’ passengers are repeat carpoolers they met through Wunder and have become new “Wunder buddies”

Sam Baker, Wunder COO;

“In 2016 the Wunder Carpoool community proved that we don’t need more vehicles or flashy services to solve the problem of congestion in Metro Manila: We need to fill empty seats. Last year 200,000 people came together, and without adding a single car to the road, helped over a 1 million people get to work. One of the most popular questions in Wunder’s community support email is when Wunder will be available to residents of Cebu. I’m happy say that it will be next week!”

Wunder will be announcing a series of launches in new cities in the region throughout the beginning of 2017.

Grab introducing a $1.40 (USD) cancellation fees


Today, Grab introduced cancellation fees as part of our ongoing effort to make driving and riding with us a better experience.

Cancellations made by drivers or passengers cause huge inconveniences to one another – loss of earnings for drivers already en-route to pick up a passenger and loss of trust for passengers waiting for their ride to arrive.

By lowering cancellation rates, we’d be able to match drivers more efficiently to passengers who really need a ride.

Right now, we measure drivers’ performance based on their cancellation rates, among other factors. Drivers with low cancellation rates enjoy higher incentives and perks, which makes them think twice before cancelling.

Today, a passenger cancellation fee of $2 will kick in. We know that there are good reasons for people to cancel their rides sometimes. So for a start, the fee will be levied only after more than 10 cancellations in a week. Once the threshold is reached, $2 will be charged to the passenger’s GrabPay account. Non-GrabPay passengers will have to enable GrabPay before making further bookings.

Over time, we will review and adjust our cancellation threshold accordingly. Our aim is to encourage people to make a booking and stick with it. Be assured that our app will always give ample notice in the form of warning notifications before we deduct the fee.

We hope this initiative creates a fairer platform for drivers and passengers, and that all of us will think twice before cancelling a booking.

From their FAQs, the cancellation fee only applies in Singapore but this may roll out to other market where Grab is available.