Kakao Mobility, the South Korea-based Mobility as a Service (MaaS) startup behind Kakao T, a ride-hailing app, claims that it has raised an additional $ 55 million (65 billion won) from strategic investor GS Retail. This brings the total to around $ 941.4 million (1.11 trillion won) and is estimated at more than $ 4.2 billion, a spokesman for Kakao Mobility confirmed.
Monday is South Korea GS retail announced that it had spent $ 55 million on its 1.3% stake in Kakao Mobility.
The latest funding event follows a series of funding rounds that included $ 200 million from Carlyle Group in February, $ 478 million from Google in March, and $ 111 million led by TPG in June. Previous supporters also include South Korea’s GS Caltex, GS Energy, and LG Corp.
Kakao Mobility was bought by LG Corp. for $ 84.9 million (100 billion won) in July, according to the spokesman. Estimated at $ 3.4 billion (won 4.09 trillion). The spokesman said the company may raise additional rounds of funding before the planned IPO between 2022 and the first half of 2023.
The sister companies of Kakao Mobility, Kakao Bank and Kakao Pay, were listed in August and November respectively.
The startup will use the fresh capital to advance its AI-powered mobility platform and drive the development of autonomous driving technology. The strategic partnership with GS Retail enables Kakao Mobility to enter the logistics and delivery business of the last mile using Kakao Mobility’s transport management system (TMS) technology, which offers optimal routes for delivery vehicles. In the next year, the two companies also plan to launch a pet taxi service, which will allow pet owners to use taxis without putting their pets in pet carriers.
Kakao Mobility, which launched its taxi hailing service in 2015, was spun off from South Korea’s largest messaging app operator Kakao Corp in 2017 to expand into bike rentals, designated driving, parking search services and navigation companies. Kakao Mobility is also developing autonomous driving technologies. In March it received permission from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOTIE) to operate its self-driving vehicle, which is in a pilot project, for the next five years, the company spokesman said.
Kakao Mobility’s ride-hailing app has more than 30 million registered users, with 230,000 taxi drivers registered on its platform, the spokesman noted.
According to an industry source, the company had sales of $ 237 billion in 2020 and expects to generate profits in 2022.
“Kakao Mobility is a leading startup in the mobility industry with big data and autonomous driving technology. We expect to provide new ones [mobility infrastructure] Experience for our users through the strategic partnership ”, SungHwa Lee, Head of Corporate Venture Capital at GS Retail.