Chinese ride-sharing giant Didi picks Australia for first Western foray

SYDNEY, June 15 — Didi Chuxing Technology Co Ltd, the Chinese ride-sharing company that bought the mainland operations of Uber Technologies Inc, will begin offering its service this month in Australia, its first foray in a Western-style country….

Toyota to acquire US$1 billion stake in Grab

SINGAPORE: Toyota Motor Corp has agreed to buy a US$1 billion (RM3.99 billion) stake in Southeast Asia's Grab in the biggest investment by a carmaker into a ride-hailing firm, at a time when traditional automakers are racing to team up with disruptive tech companies.

The value of six-year-old Grab will be just over US$10 billion after the investment, said a person familiar with the matter.

The deal comes as the auto industry faces a spike in the need for technological prowess with the advent of features such as autonomous driving, while app makers offer passengers the option to forgo car purchases by connecting them with drivers.

Some automakers have responded by partnering with makers of ride-hailing apps which dominate the fast-growing field of mobility services, in anti

General Motors Co has invested in US ride services firm Lyft, whose rival Uber Technologies Inc is also backed by Toyota. Meanwhile Japan's SoftBank Group Corp – also an investor in Grab and Uber – last month said it would invest US$2.25 billion in GM's autonomous vehicle unit Cruise.

Toyota's trading arm invested an undisclosed sum in Grab last year. This time, the automaker is lead investor in a financing round launched after Grab bought Uber's Southeast Asian business.

Grab called it the largest-ever investment globally by an automotive manufacturer in the ride-hailing sector.

The Singapore-headquartered firm did not disclose how much fresh capital it aims to raise. It raised US$2.5 billion in its last round in July, resulting in a reported value of US$6 billion.

Grab said it logs six million rides a day via apps downloaded onto over 100 million mobile devices. The firm also offers online to offline services, such as food delivery and digital payments, which it aims to expand deeper into the region using funds from its latest financing round.

“We will work with partners like Toyota to continue to transform transportation in Southeast Asia,” Grab said in an email. It also said Toyota will appoint an executive to Grab's board while a dedicated Toyota team member will be seconded to Grab as an executive officer.

Toyota said it aimed to offer financing, insurance and maintenance services to drivers based on data collected through recorder devices already installed in some Grab vehicles.

“Going forward, together with Grab, we will develop services that are more attractive, safe and secure for our customers in Southeast Asia,” Toyota executive Shigeki Tomoyama said in a statement. – Reuters

UK top court makes landmark ruling on ‘gig economy’ plumber

LONDON, June 13 — Britain’s Supreme Court today ruled that a plumber employed in the so-called gig economy had “worker” status in a landmark case that could have major implications for the booming sector. The country’s highest court…

Toyota to invest US$1b in South-east Asian ride-hailing firm Grab

SINGAPORE, June 13 — Toyota Motor Corp has agreed to invest US$1 billion (RM3.99 billion) in South-east Asian ride-hailing firm Grab as a lead investor in the company’s ongoing financing round, which was launched after it bought the regional…

Adidas’s high hopes for Russia’s World Cup thwarted by sanctions

FRANKFURT, June 11 — In 1980, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan led dozens of countries to boycott the Summer Olympics in Moscow. An undaunted Adidas AG still sponsored the USSR’s Olympic team, becoming one of the first global brands well-known…

Go-Jek backers said to offer US$1b funding after Uber exit

SINGAPORE, June 7 — Go-Jek, the Indonesian ride-hailing provider, has been offered at least US$1 billion (RM3.97 billion) of new funding from existing investors eager to accelerate its overseas expansion, people with knowledge of the matter said….

Uber expands electric-bicycle rentals with European debut

BERLIN, June 6 — Uber Technologies Inc announced it would roll out its on-demand electric-bicycle service to Europe, as it seeks to expand its international offerings to include more environmentally-friendly forms of transportation. Uber said…

Grab launches innovation arm to develop tech start-ups

SINGAPORE, June 5 — Southeast Asia’s Grab today launched Grab Ventures, its innovation arm to develop technology start-ups in sectors such as transport, food services, logistics and financial services, further expanding beyond ride-hailing….

Driving growth with food delivery

The clock strikes 12pm, signifying the lunch hour for most. You make your way out of the office thinking where to hunt for lunch. You join the masses in selecting, queueing, ordering and finally getting a spot to eat – but with little time left to yourself. This scenario – one in many – gave […]

Dahmakan to offer RM10-15 meals in 2H’18

PETALING JAYA: Food delivery start-up Dahmakan, which intends to raise US$7 million (RM27 million) in a Series A round in the third quarter this year (Q3’18), plans to offer RM10-15 meals in the second half of this year under the Rockchop by Dahmakan brand.

CEO Jonathan Weins said while Dahmakan has higher price points (RM21-29), international cuisine, and a focus on healthy eating, Rockchop by Dahmakan that was launched in March, focuses on local food and lower price points. Rockchop has several RM17.95 meals and plans to add more.

Weins said Rockchop now makes up 10% of its orders and expects this to reach 60% by year-end, and 70-80% in 2H’19, while constantly growing the Dahmakan line.

“The bigger we get, the easier it would be for us to offer lower priced meals so that we can serve the RM10-15 meal segments, what the average person spends. We believe Dahmakan can grow three to four times every year but Rockchop is even more attractive for the middle class and mass market,” Weins, who was one of 30 under-30 individuals listed by Forbes under the Retail & E-commerce category, told SunBiz in an interview.

He explained that value is important and Dahmakan’s meals are considered affordable as it employs former five-star hotel chefs, uses quality ingredients and delivers meals to customers.

Weins said the start-up is scaling up by getting more customers and building on its technology.

“We’ve automated the entire delivery system and we use AI (artificial intelligence) to automate processes and this allows us to have delivery costs that is a quarter to a fifth of what other companies have. This is the only way we can have free delivery for our customers and no minimum orders.”

Weins, 28, started Dahmakan in 2015 under Farm To Fork Sdn Bhd with two other friends, all ex-Rocket internet executives, after they saw a huge market in the food delivery segment.

“On the other side, we also saw a lot of room for improvement to build a new type of food delivery. We can do it differently if we control the production ourselves and we use technology to make delivery efficient.”

Customers place their orders via the website or mobile app from a daily changing, cooked fresh menu. Food production, delivery and customer service are handled by an in-house team.

Dahmakan gets about 100,000 orders per month. It claims that customers of traditional food delivery marketplaces such as Ubereats and Foodpanda pay 35-50% more for a comparable product, which results in Dahmakan customers ordering four times as frequently.

To date, the start-up has raised US$4.1 million in venture capital funding over several rounds, with the latest being US$2.6 million in a pre-series A round in Q4’17. Dahmakan’s investors include venture capitals from Silicon Valley, Europe and Asia such as Y Combinator, Atami Capital, Texas Atlantic Capital, Asia Venture Group and angel investors.

Dahmakan is the first Malaysian start-up to be part of the Y Combinator incubator programme in Silicon Valley (alumni include Airbnb, Dropbox, Stripe, Reddit, Instacart).

In its next Series A round in the next quarter (Q3’18), Weins said Dahmakan plans to raise US$7 million to further grow its business in Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok, as well as to expand into Singapore (Q3’18), Jakarta (Q4’18) and Hong Kong (2019). Moving forward, it has also lined up Japan, Korea and Taiwan (2019-2020) and Penang (Q3’19).

“Food delivery is an exciting sector because there has been little innovation in the F&B industry over the last 20 years, and now with the availability of technology, we can reshape that,” said Weins.