Sunday, February 1, 2015

SoftBank Taxi APPs Company's Huge Commercial Step

According to reports SoftBank taxi apps was added to company's portfolio. The ride-sharing service Lyft operates in many of the same U.S. cities as its rival Uber, and the two have a keen rivalry. But a new, less obvious, force has emerged out of Asia to offer Uber its stiffest competition yet: surprisingly, it is a telecom company.

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Until October 2014 SoftBank had no business in taxi-hailing apps. But at that time it led a $210 million investment in India’s Ola. That deal was announced as the first investment in SoftBank’s program to put $10 billion into startups in India. As later it becomes clear that Ola was just one of a number of deals in India. It also turned out to be the first of an expensive set of investments in companies rivals that rival Uber.

Then SoftBank invested $250 million in GrabTaxi in Southeast Asia, and last week a $600 million financing deal round for China’s Kuadi Dache. But it may not stop in Asia.

Alibaba led Lyft’s $250 million funding round in April 2014, which the U.S. company had earmarked for “international expansion”. SoftBank and Alibaba have a long history of collaboration. SoftBank is an early investor in Alibaba, and both companies put money into Kuadi Dache. So it could just be that Lyft forms a part of SoftBank’s taxi app focus. Perhaps the Japanese firm will put its own money in at a later date, or it will use its relationship with Alibaba to form a loose alliance to share information and tactics.

There are many reasons to believe that SoftBank wants to tier its e-commerce investments together — perhaps using app integrations and formal tie-ins, or just sharing of information, experiences, etc, been these companies.

Adding taxi apps to its portfolio of investments is great step, because transportation-on-demand services have the potential to be hugely influential. As for millions of people they could become daily apps if they need to move somewhere. They create real-life logistics networks that can be used for all kinds of offline services. Uber’s potential as a logistics network could be a good example.

SoftBank taxi apps appear to form a key part of the e-commerce platform that it is in the early stages of assembling. Uber raised close to $2.5 billion from investors last year, but, with SoftBank valued at around $70 billion. The U.S. company may yet return to the table for even more funding as the battle intensifies.
SoftBank declined that the Japanese firm is aiming to maximize synergies with our network of Internet companies around the world.


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