The international coalition to beat Uber at its own game just got more incestuous. And way more interesting.
As reported previously on Pando, Softbank is essentially bankrolling nearly any major home-turf Asian Uber competitor: The top ones being Didi Kuaidi in China, OlaCabs in India and GrabTaxi in Singapore. But that’s not all. Didi is also backed by Chinese mega-corps Alibaba and Tencent… and Alibaba has also invested in Lyft. Then there’s Coatue who has invested in Lyft, Didi, and GrabTaxi.
It’s like the opening of Soap. It’s an important branch of the coalition of billionaires who didn’t invest in Uber (™), that also includes Andreessen Horowitz [Disclosure: Marc Andreessen is a personal investor in Pando], Carl Icahn, Japanese powerhouse Rakuten, and Peter Thiel.
While there are reportedly no active plans to merge, roll up or in any way formally work together… that’s an awful lot of interconnectedness for one big international group all fighting the same aggressive, win-at-all-costs, take-on-all comers foe.
The battle just got a lot more interesting. Didi has invested in GrabTaxi as part of a $ 350 million round. Not only is it the first time any of these groups have formally worked together that we’re aware of, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen another private venture-backed company ever use proceeds from its last funding round to invest in a similar private venture backed company in another market.