Going head-to-head with Silicon Valley-based startup’s UberX
Follows launch of premium ride service in KL and Manila
MALAYSIAN startup GrabTaxi, known as MyTeksi in its home base, has launched its premium ride service GrabCar in Singapore, following the rollout of the new service in Kuala Lumpur and Manila earlier this year.
GrabCar is a complementary service that enables users to book a private hire premium car through their smartphones.
It operates on the same mobile application platform as GrabTaxi (or the MyTeksi app in Malaysia), while ensuring a seamless experience for customers wanting the choice between booking taxis or premium cars, GrabCar said in a statement.
“The inclusion of GrabCar as part of the GrabTaxi service shows our desire and ability to meet our customers’ needs especially during peak hours. It offers them access to a wider network of taxis as well as premium cars,” said GrabTaxi founder and group chief executive officer Anthony Tan (pic).
“The inclusion of GrabCar as part of the GrabTaxi network will give our passengers that personalised experience, while at the same time, ensure quick, safe and reliable rides,” he added.
GrabCar was launched in Kuala Lumpur in May, with limousine service Mayflower on board. When asked how many cars or car companies are signed up for the Singapore rollout, the company told Digital News Asia (DNA) it is unable to reveal the names of the car companies at this stage as it is finalising agreements with them.
DNA also asked the company about the take-up rates of the GrabCar service in Kuala Lumpur and Manila, the company also responded: “As it is still early, [GrabTaxi] is looking to refine how GrabCar works in every market. Once the system has been set in place, [we] will be able to see the trends and provide more feedback.”
GrabCar will also be going head-to-head with San Francisco-headquartered startup Uber, which has already rolled out its UberX service in Singapore.
When asked how GrabCar was going to differentiate itself against UberX, a GrabTaxi spokesperson said: “A key difference for GrabCar is the upfront set fees with no hidden charges. This ensures that passengers are fully aware about costs at the start of the journey. They will have no nasty surprises when their rides are over.”
In early April, GrabTaxi announced it had secured Series A funding with existing investor Vertex Venture Holdings as the lead investor. The company declined to disclose the amount, but an English daily put it at US$10 million. In May, it said it had raised more than US$15 million in Series B funding, led by Silicon Valley-based GGV Capital with participation from new investor Qunar, as well as Vertex Venture Holdings.
With over 1.2 million downloads of the GrabTaxi mobile app around the region and with 250,000 users per month, GrabTaxi is the market leader in South-East Asia, the company claims.
“GrabCar provides passengers in Singapore with all of the perks of car ownership, minus the hassle,” said GrabTaxi general manager Lim Kell Jay.
“We deliver you from doorstep to doorstep so that you don’t have to worry about parking and the changing driving conditions in Singapore – simply leave the driving to us.
“Also, speed remains our biggest priority – backed by the same promise as GrabTaxi, we are working closely with our partners to ensure we have sufficient quality drivers to back the demand,” he added.
To make a booking, passengers select ‘GrabCar’ as their ‘car type’ in the GrabTaxi app. They will know the exact fare of their journey prior to confirming their booking and payment is in cash, GrabTaxi said.
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