SoftBank backs Uber-rival GrabTaxi to the tune of $250m

softbank backs uber rival grabtaxi tune 250m
Telecom giant SoftBank evidently sees taxi app service GrabTaxi as a good bet, recently investing $250 million in the startup.

The app has been growing in popularity in south-east Asia and is currently one of Uber’s biggest rivals in the region. SoftBank’s backing is likely to see the service developed and expanded, putting more pressure on ride-sharing service Uber as it attempts to further establish itself beyond its U.S home base.

The two services do, however, slightly differ. Whereas Uber has its own drivers that connect with passengers via its app, GrabTaxi’s cross-platform app does what it says on the tin – put passengers in touch with registered taxis. However, with Uber gaining traction in the market, the Singapore-based startup has launched a similar private-hire service called GrabCar.

GrabTaxi launched in 2012 and currently offers its service in 17 cities across 6 countries. It has around half a million monthly users of its service – up from 250k six months ago – with 60,000 taxi drivers available to pick up passengers.

Despite SoftBank’s sizable investment, which follows another recent funding round that scored it $65 million from other backers, the company looks unlikely to be taking its business outside of south-east Asia anytime soon.

GrabTaxi CEO Anthony Tan told TechCrunch recently his company plans to “grow very fast and focus on expanding in this region.”

As for SoftBank, its cash injection makes it GrabTaxi‘s largest backer, and brings the number of firms its invested in globally to around 1,300. The Japanese company said its GrabTaxi funding would help it to build its presence in south-east Asia and “maximize synergies” with its global network of Internet companies.

[Source: SoftBank [pdf] via TechCrunch]

Cars

Audi taught cars to talk to traffic lights, and they’re set to be even chattier

Audi started teaching its cars the language of traffic lights in Las Vegas, Nevada, in 2016, and it has continued to expand the reach of this technology ever since.
Cars

Lyft’s Shared Saver service offers cheaper rides, but you’ll have to walk a little

Lyft has launched a new ride option called Shared Saver that offers cheaper rides if you're willing to walk a little. Shared Saver designates a nearby pick-up point and drops you off a short distance from your final destination.
Cars

Arizona city slammed with $10M lawsuit over fatal Uber autonomous car accident

The family of Elaine Herzberg, the woman struck and killed by one of Uber's self-driving prototypes, has filed a $10 million lawsuit against the city of Tempe, Arizona. They claim Herzberg jaywalked because she was confused by a brick…
Business

Can Amazon deliver on plan to slash carbon footprint of shipments?

Amazon has announced an ambitious plan to halve its shipment carbon footprint by 2030. The company says improvements in electric vehicles, aviation bio fuels, reusable packaging, and renewable energy make the goal reachable.
Mobile

Verizon is launching real standards-based 5G in 30 cities in 2019

Verizon is in the midst of a massive 5G rollout. In addition to fixed 5G service, it will also begin deploying mobile 5G in the coming months. Here's everything you need to know about Verizon's 5G network and when it will be in your town.
Deals

Stay fit and save cash with our top 10 affordable Fitbit alternatives

As much as we love Fitbits, they're rather expensive. If all you want is a simple activity tracker, however, then check out these great cheap Fitbit alternatives. With offerings from brands like Garmin, you don't need to pay full price.
Mobile

Samsung’s wide range of Galaxy products means there’s something for everyone

Samsung launched a host of new products on February 20, with prices ranging from just $35, all the way up to nearly $2,000. This was not by chance, and the company believes it has something for everyone in 2019.
Mobile

Samsung Galaxy S10e vs. OnePlus 6T: Can the Flagship Killer survive?

The Samsung Galaxy S10e is the new affordable flagship on the block, but at $750, it's $200 more than the OnePlus 6T. Does the Flagship Killer stand a chance against the new generation of flagship devices? Let's take a closer look.
Deals

Make some time for the best smartwatch deals for February 2019

Smartwatches make your life easier by sending alerts right on your wrist. Many also provide fitness-tracking features. So if you're ready to take the plunge into wearables and want to save money, read on for the best smartwatch deals.
Product Review

Samsung’s Galaxy Buds are a brilliant combination of value and comfort

With six hours of battery life, an extremely comfortable fit, sweatproofing, and a very palatable price tag, Samsung’s Galaxy Buds are putting all other true wireless earbuds on notice.
Deals

Amazon drops a sweet deal on the Kate Spade Scallop smartwatch for women

Unlike many other smartwatches geared toward women, the Kate Spade Scallop offers a more chic and minimalistic look. With this Amazon sale going on right now, you can get it for $109 off its retail price.
Deals

The 5 best Apple AirPods alternatives for Android, Windows, and iOS devices

Apple AirPods, nice as they are, aren't the only game in town. Other makers are offering their own truly wireless earbuds, and if you're looking to buy a pair of high-end in-ear headphones, we've got the best AirPod alternatives on the…
Mobile

Samsung Galaxy S10e vs. iPhone XR: Cut-price flagship showdown

The Samsung Galaxy S10 range has been revealed, and it heralds a new age of powerful technology. The Galaxy S10e packs the new power and design into a cheaper price point. But is it better than the iPhone XR?
Mobile

The budget-friendly Moto G7 is now available for pre-order

After a number of leaks and rumors, the Motorola Moto G7, Moto G7 Play, and Moto G7 Power are finally here. The devices represent quite a spec bump over the previous-generation Moto G6 phones, yet still come at a reasonable price.