cocoa mobilitySouth Korean messaging and internet giant Kakao’s ride-hailing subsidiary has made its first acquisition as it seeks to boost its international profile.Already acquired Splitis a London-based startup that works with apps in areas such as travel, ride-hailing and finance to help build a ‘super app’ strategy by integrating other services.
Kakao Mobility is already working with Splyt and hopes to use this asset to facilitate its global expansion plans across Southeast Asia and Europe. Kakao Mobility currently offers limited services in about 30 markets outside South Korea. Most recently, it launched in Guam last year and Laos earlier this year.
“The technical teams at Splyt and Kakao Mobility have been working together since 2019 to integrate and enable global ride-hailing services for Kakao T users through Splyt’s ride-hailing API platform,” Splyt CTO Stephen Mason told TechCrunch. Told.
Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but there are some indications that it may not have been the best outcome for this super app enabler.
According to Splyt, more than 2 billion people in 150 countries use its services through Alipay, Uber, Binance, Grab, Trip.com, Booking.com, Kakao itself and 70 other customers. However, after a series of activities over the past few years, SoftbankGrab, Amex, etc. pitch book Data — Splyt stopped providing business updates in July 2022.
Acquisitions include technology and talent. Splyt has about 30 staff and plans to join Kakao Mobility. Key Splyt management will move to South Korea to continue managing the team and integrate it into Kakao Mobility, said a spokesperson for the latter company. (Kakao Mobility has about 950 employees.)
It’s not yet clear how Kakao Mobility intends to use Splyt’s technology. Use it as a lever to work with a wider network of international partners, or to extend Kakao Mobility’s own app, his Kakao T. Currently, there are approximately 32 million registered users.
Kakao Mobility itself is at a crossroads as a business. The company was originally spun out of Kakao Corporation in 2017, but still owns 58% of the company.But last year cacao had to shelving plan Selling part of its shares to a private equity firm after opposition from drivers and employees. Further IPO plans are also on hold as the market for tech stocks is currently cooling.
Other investors in the mobility business include Carlyle, TPG, LG and Google, which have committed more than $840 million.last year’s report Korea Economic Daily Kakao Mobility, which offers ride-hailing services, parking space search, navigation, bike rentals and is also working on self-driving, points to a $6.5 billion value.
Splyt’s emergence as a business marks a very special time in the on-demand services market. Grab, Uber, Didi, Lyft, Ola and many other apps have raised billions of dollars to compete with each other and build networks of gig workers and customers. However, intense competition for a narrow range of services created very difficult unit economics. As such, many of these companies have focused on incorporating more services into these apps in order to improve loyalty and increase customer spend. It was born. However, the complexity of integrating various services was a challenge in itself. was to provide the technology of
That in itself was enough to lure SoftBank as an investor. SoftBank was a big backer of many of these on-demand businesses when he led a $19.5 million round at the startup in 2019, looking for his point of entry into the “super app” fray. was Investing was seen as a way to help it on both these fronts.
But fast-forward to today, and many of the companies running these apps, let alone SoftBank itself, are struggling to grow and justify the investment frenzy of the past few years. All of this may have led to his Splyt schism, but it’s also perhaps an opportunity for Kakao Mobility to pick up the pieces for their own purposes.
Splyt CEO and co-founder Philipp Mintchin said:
“We are very pleased to welcome Splyt, our first overseas acquisition. [of Kakao Mobility]Alex Liu said in a statement. “Kakao Mobility will continue to expand our offerings and accelerate our global expansion through Splyt, which has unparalleled global competitiveness in the mobility service platform space.”