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Startup investments

NPS joins in TPG-led $125 mn funding for Kakao Mobility

TPG consortium and Carlyle participate in Kakao Mobility's $125 mn rights offering

Jun 10, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

NPS joins in TPG-led 5 mn funding for Kakao Mobility

The National Pension Service has committed $100 million to a TPG consortium that recently raised $116.8 million to invest in Kakao Mobility Co., South Korea's largest taxi-hailing app.

In the latest funding round, Kakao Mobility secured an additional $125 million both from TPG and The Carlyle Group, which valued the startup at 3.6 trillion won ($3.2 billion), according to investment banking sources on June 9.

Separate from the TPG-led group, Carlyle injected $8.2 million into Kakao Mobility to buy its new shares.

The unit of Kakao Corp., the country's dominant mobile messenger app, holds the majority of the 10 trillion won taxi services market in South Korea. It is also tightening its grip on the markets for designated driver-finding services and parking lots, as well as real-time navigation services.

The company is now gearing up for its entry into the automotive aftersales market estimated at 100 trillion won, introducing car washing, maintenance and electric vehicle charging services for 20 million car owners registered on its app.

In the third quarter of this year, it will jump into the delivery service market to achieve its vision of Taas, or transportation as a service. 

"In the mobility service market where information is left scattered, we will put together data through Kakao T and Kakao Navi and accumulate a vast amount of mobility data," said a Kakao Mobility official. 

"Based on the accumulated big data, we will be able to expand our platform into various new areas such as finance, advertising and e-commerce tailored to the mobility industry," he added.

Kakao T refers to the taxi-hailing app. Kakao Navi provides real-time traffic information to find the optimal route for the driver. 

NPS joins in TPG-led 5 mn funding for Kakao Mobility

The latest investment will bring the total amount raised from TPG, Carlyle and Google to around 920 billion won for Kakao Mobility, the largest amount for a domestic mobility services provider.

Kakao Mobility is now owned 60.8% by Kakao Corp.; 30.7% by the TPG-led consortium; 6.6% by Carlyle; and 1.6% by Google Inc. 

In 2017, TPG invested 500 billion won for a 30% stake in Kakao Mobility.

Earlier this year, Carlyle and Google pumped $200 million and $50 million into Kakao Mobility, respectively, participating in the latter's rights offering.

By Jun-ho Cha

Yeonhee Kim edited this article.

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