Manila’s ridesharing app U-Hop gets $7.4m funding for Asia rollout

Manila’s ridesharing app U-Hop gets $7.4m funding for Asia rollout

Manila-based U-Hop has closed seed investments worth a total of US$7.4 million, which it will use to roll out in major cities across Asia.

The company has received US$2 million from a Philippine corporation with diversified interests, U-Hop’s founder Marvin Dela Cruz tells Tech in Asia. Some US$5.4 million inked with boutique investment banking firm Asian Alliance Investment Corporation, also based in Manila, will be wired into the company’s bank account any time after Holy Week.

“We’re using the funds to expand our operations in the Philippines and to launch in other markets such as Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, China, India, and Japan,” Marvin explains. “We will develop our IT infrastructure, acquire more partners, and hire a little over 500 additional staff to cover our entire operations.”

U-Hop is an Uber for shuttle vans that’s fast growing in Manila. The capital is known for having the worst urban traffic in the world, and it doesn’t need any more cars on the road than it currently has. Ride hailing apps Uber and Grab are just adding to the gridlock by catering to only one user at a time.

U-Hop’s answer is to put more commuters in vans, which can seat about seven people per trip. The company claims to already serve 550,000 passengers who regularly take its shuttle service.

U-Hop trips are scheduled and paid for in advance and cost an average of just US$2.50 per day (roundtrip). An on-demand option is metered like other taxi services and charges a fixed fee of less than a dollar, doing away with the surge pricing feature found on Uber’s and Grab’s apps.