SoftBank, known for investing in ridesharing apps that aren’t Uber, has added another startup to its list. This time it’s a $100 million bet on 99, the largest ridesharing company in Brazil.
99 says this is an extension of a round for upwards of $100 million that it raised in January from Didi Chuxing, China’s biggest ridesharing app (and itself a SoftBank investment), and Riverwood. Softbank’s investment doubles its total to more than $200 million and also brings 99 deeper into an informal international alliance of ridesharing apps backed by SoftBank. In addition to Didi Chuxing, these include all of Uber’s major regional rivals: Lyft, India’s Ola, and Southeast Asia’s Grab.
For both SoftBank and Didi Chuxing, investing in 99 is a major step in deepening their presence around the world. Their support of 99 also makes Uber’s Latin American growth plans more complicated and represents another way that SoftBank and Didi Chuxing has thrown a wrench in their rival’s international strategy (after struggling to compete, Uber sold its China business to Didi Chuxing last year). Brazil is the world’s fifth-largest country with more than 200 million people and an emerging economy that, despite its current political unrest, remains an attractive target for investors.
99’s total funding so far is $225 million. Its other investors include Monashees, Qualcomm Ventures, and Tiger Global.
Its new funding from SoftBank will be spent on expanding its peer-to-peer ridesharing service, called 99POP, to more countries in Latin America. The company was founded in 2012 and currently claims more than 200,000 drivers and 14 million registered users on its platform.
In a prepared statement, David Thévenon, managing director at SoftBank, said “We see strong growth and a great outlook for the mobility solutions sector in Latin America. The 99 team has made impressive progress in Brazil, now operating in more than 400 cities and bringing positive changes to millions of users.”
Featured Image: Hiroshi Higuchi/Getty Images