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Southeast Asian Ride-Hailing, Mobile Leader Grab Raises $750M Led by SoftBank

Southeast Asian Ride-Hailing, Mobile Leader Grab Raises $750M Led by SoftBank

Forbes, with an estimated net worth of US$14.9 billion. In July, SoftBank agreed to acquire UK-based ARM Holdings plc (LSE: ARM; NASDAQ: ARMH), whose microchips are used in more than 95% of all smartphones, for $32 billion in cash. Grab operates the largest transportation network in Southeast Asia and is one of the most frequently used mobile platforms in the region with up to 1.5 million daily bookings. the company offers private car, motorbike, taxi, and carpooling services across 6 countries and 31 cities in Southeast Asia, with 1 out of every 4 passengers using multiple services. “Our vision is to drive Southeast Asia transportation forward and transform the region’s mobile internet ecosystem. This latest funding, the largest in the history of Southeast Asia consumer technology, strengthens our ability to pursue those long-term goals as we continue to build on our market leadership,” said Grab CEO & co-founder Anthony Tan. Grab plans to continue expanding its transportation services in Southeast Asia, home to 620 million people, and a rising population of middle class and mobile users, especially in Indonesia. Grab also plans to significantly invest in mobile payments capabilities, to enable a seamless daily transaction experience in a region with low banking and credit card penetration and limited cashless payment options. Indonesia is Southeast Asia’s largest market with 250 million people, over a third of the region’s population. Grab will further expand the diversity, density and efficiency of its services in Jakarta, a congested city with 30 million people, where it believes its GrabCar, GrabBike, GrabTaxi and GrabFood services are relevant and transformative. In Indonesia, its GrabCar and GrabBike services grew 250x in one year as of the end of 1H2016, and continue to grow exponentially, the company said. Grab said it will also continue to invest in data science and machine learning capabilities to support its growth and enable services like predictive demand, and driver and user targeting. Grab continues to hire “top international talent in its R&D centers in Singapore, Beijing and Seattle,” developing “innovative features like Flash that pools cars and taxis,” improving “back-end routing capabilities,” and building a proprietary “POI mapping database.” The move comes less than two months after China’s ride-sharing leader Didi Chuxing agreed to acquire all assets of UberChina, including its brand, business operations and data within mainland China in a deal valued at $35 billion. A few days later in August, Go-Jek, Indonesia’s leading ride-hailing motorcycle taxi mobile app startup, raised over $550 million in growth equity funding led by global investment firms KKR & Co. (NYSE: KKR), Warburg Pincus, Farallon Capital and Capital Group Private Markets, as well as existing shareholders and other international investors. Previous investors in Go-Jek include Sequoia India, Northstar Group, DST Global, NSI Ventures, Rakuten Ventures and Formation Group. In June, Uber raised $3.5 billion from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) in the largest funding it ever raised from a single investor, as part of a $5 billion funding round that valued the company at $68 billion, turning Uber into the world’s most highly valued startup. A month ago, in a strategic shift focusing on autonomous vehicles,, Uber acquired self-driving trucks startup Otto, in a deal reportedly valued at $700 million. Uber also said it made a partnership deal with Swedish carmaker Volvo, “a leader when it comes to safety.” In late August, Uber followed with the launch of an experimental driver-less car-hailing program in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, home to Carnegie Mellon University’s robotics department, crossing an important milestone that no automotive or technology company had yet achieved, Photo: Masayoshi Son, Chairman and CEO of SoftBank.]]>

OD Kobo’s High-Profile @ShellanooGroup Incubator Abruptly Cancels Tel Aviv IPO

OD Kobo’s High-Profile @ShellanooGroup Incubator Abruptly Cancels Tel Aviv IPO

Shellanoo disclosed amid great mystery and fanfare, that it was planning to raise 100 million shekels ($26.5 million) or more, in an initial public offering on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange by October, as previously reported by ExitHub.

In a twist of fate. now the group’s investors, including billionaire Roman Abramovich, music luminaries including Tiesto, Avicii, will.i.am, David Guetta, Sebastian Ingrosso (of Swedish House Mafia), Nicki Minaj, Benny Andersson (of music group ABBA), plus super agents Ash Pournouri and Gee Roberson (previously chairman of Geffen Records and now part of Maverick Management), and other celebrities and friends such as supermodel Bar Refaeli and her brother Dor, who co-founded Blindspot, can tell O.D. Kobo –anonymously– what they really think, using Shellanoo’s Blindspot app.
Shellanoo said it currently manages “over $200 million in assets.” The IPO was supposed to be managed by Poalim IBI-Management & Underwriting Ltd (TASE: PIU), Israel’s leading local investment bank. “In a one-line statement to the bourse, Shellanoo – which last month said it would raise at least 100 million shekels ($27 million) in a share offering – did not give a reason for the cancellation and did not provide further details,” Reuters reported. “The main criticism Israeli financial journalists raised is that the (pre-revenue) company’s leading app – the messaging app Blindspot – has only 1.4M active users who are mainly teenagers in Brazil and dozens of potential apps that will be released later on,” wrote SeekingAlpha contributor, Lior Ronen, a financial analyst and CEO of Finro. “These dozens of new apps bring more of the same to already saturated markets like online dating, job hunting, used goods sales, social media and much more. The potential of these apps to gain substantial market share in the markets they target is tiny, while using a freemium model and in-app purchase revenue streams, make the potential revenues growth highly unlikely,” he added. Relying on Blindspot, “which tried penetrating a boiling market of messaging, the company is light years away” from even relatively small players like Telegram, with 100M monthly active users (MAU), and Kakaotalk, with 48M MAU (not to mention big players such as WhatsApp, Facebook, QQ Mobile, WeChat, Microsoft’s LinkedIn, Skype, Viber, Line, or Blackberry) noted Ronen, as illustrated in his chart below. messaging_apps_mau_stats Shellanoo said it had closed a $35 million round of funding in April 2015, in conjunction with the launch of its music sharing app Music Messenger. Last year Shellanoo’s backer Abramovich was said to have acquired for 100 million shekels The Varsano luxury boutique hotel property, nestled within the trendy historical neighborhood of Neve Tzedek in Tel Aviv, which he is expected to turn into his Israeli hôtel particulier. The hotel business has already been permanently closed. He’s also said to be periodically scouting for new high-tech investment opportunities in Israel. [caption id="attachment_6155" align="aligncenter" width="748"]The Roman Abramovich Hôtel Particulier in Neve Tzedek,Tel Aviv. The Roman Abramovich Hôtel Particulier (formerly Varsano) in Neve Tzedek, Tel Aviv.[/caption] Shellanoo is the brainchild of Oded “O.D.” Kobo, a serial Israeli Internet entrepreneur born in Hong Kong. He started his IT career at the age of 20 by developing patented technology for the lottery industry. He later moved back to Asia to establish IT outsourcing facilities. He is a co-founder of Chinese Internet companies KGIM, SinoSheen and Koolanoo Group. KGIM, a holding group of multiple Internet companies, and a seed investment group once partnered with the Prime Minister of Qatar HH Al Thani, was later sold to East River Capital for $80 million. In 2012 he founded social media app Pheed, which was sold for $40 million in 2014 to Mobli Media, a company controlled by Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim. Kobo is a former board member of Camden Market Holdings (LSE: MKT), a real estate conglomerate based in London, controlled Israeli property tycoon and technology entrepreneur Teddy Sagi. In December 2015, Shellanoo launched Blindspot, a new anonymous messaging app that gives people the opportunity to express their true feelings, without revealing their identity – unless they choose to. “Blindspot is definitely one of our portfolio’s liveliest projects,” said O.D. Kobo, chairman of Shellanoo Group. The idea for Blindspot emerged from a 12-hour hackathon at Shellanoo’s headquarters in Israel. “When you remove the barrier of identity between people things start to get interesting,” says Kobo. Blindspot is perfect for flirting or chatting. Users can message anyone in their contact list for one-to-one communication, sending text, images, voice-notes and video. Perhaps it’s the loud, cartoon-style design, the game-like interface, or simply the ability to message people anonymously. Whatever it is, Blindspot opens up a whole new world of communications. Message recipients can easily block other users and can ask senders to reveal their identity at any time. Any user that is blocked by three people is removed from the app. Any misuse can be raised directly with Blindspot. “What would you say to people you know if you were anonymous?” ask Dor Refaeli and Lee Greenberg, co-founders of Blindspot. “Most users want to flirt, play jokes on friends or share secretive information they would otherwise be scared to reveal. There’s so much fake comment on social media – it can be like an airbrushed version of life. We want people to have fun, and most of all we want people to be real with one another.” blindspot-refaeli Dor Refaeli (above, L) is the younger brother of Israel’s international supermodel Bar Refaeli (above, R). Funding terms and the equity share split between Shellanoo and Blindspot’s founders Refaeli and Greenberg were not disclosed. (Upper) Photo: O.D. Kobo and his wife Etty (Instagram/Walla).]]>

OD Kobo’s High-Profile @ShellanooGroup Incubator Abruptly Cancels Tel Aviv IPO

Abramovich, OD Kobo's Shellanoo Incubator Set for $26.5M Oct Tel Aviv IPO

Music Messenger. The group’s investors include billionaire Roman Abramovich, and attracted investments from music luminaries including Tiesto, Avicii, will.i.am, David Guetta, Sebastian Ingrosso (of Swedish House Mafia), Nicki Minaj, Benny Andersson (of music group ABBA), plus super agents Ash Pournouri and Gee Roberson (previously chairman of Geffen Records and now part of Maverick Management), and several others. Last year, Abramovich was said to have acquired for 100 million shekels The Varsano luxury boutique hotel property, nestled within the trendy historical neighborhood of Neve Tzedek in Tel Aviv, which he is expected to turn into his Israeli hôtel particulier. The hotel business has already been permanently closed. He’s also said to be periodically scouting for new high-tech investment opportunities in Israel. [caption id="attachment_6155" align="aligncenter" width="748"]The Roman Abramovich Hôtel Particulier in Neve Tzedek,Tel Aviv. The Roman Abramovich Hôtel Particulier (formerly Varsano) in Neve Tzedek, Tel Aviv.[/caption] Shellanoo is the brainchild of Oded “O.D.” Kobo, a serial Israeli Internet entrepreneur born in Hong Kong. He started his IT career at the age of 20 by developing patented technology for the lottery industry. He later moved back to Asia to establish IT outsourcing facilities. He is a co-founder of Chinese Internet companies KGIM, SinoSheen and Koolanoo Group. KGIM, a holding group of multiple Internet companies, and a seed investment group once partnered with the Prime Minister of Qatar HH Al Thani, was later sold to East River Capital for $80 million. In 2012 he founded social media app Pheed, which was sold for $40 million in 2014 to Mobli Media, a company controlled by Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim. Kobo is a former board member of Camden Market Holdings (LSE: MKT), a real estate conglomerate based in London, controlled Israeli property tycoon and technology entrepreneur Teddy Sagi. In December 2015, Shellanoo launched Blindspot, a new anonymous messaging app that gives people the opportunity to express their true feelings, without revealing their identity – unless they choose to. “Blindspot is definitely one of our portfolio’s liveliest projects,” said O.D. Kobo, chairman of Shellanoo Group. The idea for Blindspot emerged from a 12-hour hackathon at Shellanoo’s headquarters in Israel. “When you remove the barrier of identity between people things start to get interesting,” says Kobo. Blindspot is perfect for flirting or chatting. Users can message anyone in their contact list for one-to-one communication, sending text, images, voice-notes and video. Perhaps it’s the loud, cartoon-style design, the game-like interface, or simply the ability to message people anonymously. Whatever it is, Blindspot opens up a whole new world of communications. Message recipients can easily block other users and can ask senders to reveal their identity at any time. Any user that is blocked by three people is removed from the app. Any misuse can be raised directly with Blindspot. “What would you say to people you know if you were anonymous?” ask Dor Refaeli and Lee Greenberg, co-founders of Blindspot. “Most users want to flirt, play jokes on friends or share secretive information they would otherwise be scared to reveal. There’s so much fake comment on social media – it can be like an airbrushed version of life. We want people to have fun, and most of all we want people to be real with one another.” blindspot-refaeli Dor Refaeli (above, L) is the younger brother of Israel’s international supermodel Bar Refaeli (above, R). Funding terms and the equity share split between Shellanoo and Blindspot’s founders Refaeli and Greenberg were not disclosed. (Upper) Photo: O.D. Kobo and his wife Etty (Instagram/Walla).]]>