The global transport wars are heating up in Latin America with major investments from new Asian players.
A few months after Chinese transportation giant Didi Chuxing announced a US$100m co-investment with Riverwood Capital in Brazilian rideshare app 99, Japan’s SoftBank and existing investor Riverwood Capital announced a separate US$100m investment in 99. (99 also has funding from monashees+, Qualcomm Ventures, and Tiger Global.) TechCrunch says 99 will use the fresh cash to fund expansion of 99POP, its peer-to-peer ridesharing app, to other LatAm markets.
Softbank’s investment in 99 comes weeks after Spanish rideshare app Cabify announced a US$100m inside round from existing investors Rakuten, Seaya Ventures, and AngelList and plans to invest US$200m on its Brazil expansion. Brazilian incumbent Easy, the first rideshare app to launch in the region, has about US$80m in disclosed funding from a global constellation of investors that includes Latin America Internet Holding (LIH), Asia Internet Holding, Phenomen Ventures, Holtzbrinck, and Tengelmann; Easy merged with Colombian app Tappsi in 2015. And then there’s Uber, which told Bloomberg last year that Mexico City is its #1 market globally.
Softbank and Didi’s investment in 99 further complicates an already tangled web of investors in global rideshare apps.
Softbank and Didi’s investment in 99 further complicates an already tangled web of investors in global rideshare apps. Softbank is an investor in Didi, which just raised a record US$5.5b round. (Softbank’s new US$100b Vision Fund, the largest technology investment fund ever raised, has a ride-hail prohibition, so SoftBank’s investment in 99 was made from a separate fund.) Meanwhile, Uber has a 20% stake in Didi, after selling its Chinese operations to Didi in 2016 in a deal that made Uber Didi’s largest shareholder; Didi also pledged a US$1b investment in Uber as part of the deal. So while Uber, Easy, Cabify, and 99 are battling it out in LatAm, Uber (via Didi) now has a stake in 99’s success — and Didi has a seat on 99’s board.
So while Uber, Easy, Cabify, and 99 are battling it out in LatAm, Uber (via Didi) now has a stake in 99’s success — and Didi has a seat on 99’s board.
99’s recent rounds are two of the biggest VC rounds in Latin America. According to LAVCA data, the following are the four largest VC rounds in Latin American startups:
- Netshoes’ US$170m round in 2014, led by GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, with participation from Tiger Global Management and Temasek
- 99’s US$100m investment from Didi Chuxing and Riverwood Capital in 2017
- 99’s US$100m investment from SoftBank and Riverwood Capital in 2017
- Nubank’s US$80m Series D in 2016, led by DST Global, with participation from Redpoint Ventures and Ribbit Capital
WATCH>> Didi Chuxing investor (and LAVCA board member) Martin Diaz Plata talked about Didi’s success at bringing adversaries to the table at LAVCA’s annual investor meeting in New York last September. WATCH him explain how Didi brought Apple, Tencent, Baidu, and Uber to the table as strategic shareholders.