Grab, a ride-sharing company focused on Southeast Asia, is in talks to raise more than $1.5 billion in new funding led by existing shareholder SoftBank, per Bloomberg. This would basically double the Indonesia-based startup's total VC haul to date, which included a $750 million Series F round last fall at a post-money valuation just north of $3 billion.
Why it's a big deal: For starters, this is just another headache for Uber, which already is experiencing persistent migraines. More broadly, however, it's yet another case of SoftBank stepping into a pre-IPO breach that was created by the partial departure of mutual funds and other venture tourists. It's also worth beginning to question is SoftBank itself is slowing down the tech IPO market, acting as a sort of JOBS Act counterweight.
Bottom line: "Grab, which this week announced plans to expand to its seventh country in the region, is racing against Uber and Go-Jek Indonesia PT to cast its net across more cities and drum up business for its nascent payments platform... It's hiring more than 800 new research and development staff in six centers over the next two years, including new facilities in Bangalore and Ho Chi Minh City." ― Bloomberg