Brazil’s ride-hailing service provider 99 has raised $100 million from Japan’s SoftBank Group.
With this new capital, 99 will give Uber a run for its money in Brazil, where the American Silicon Valley startup is trying hard to bolster its operation.
99 is reportedly planning to expand its peer-to-peer ride offering, called 99POP, which it started in the fourth quarter of last year.
This is the second successful fundraising for 99 this year after it raised $100 million from its Chinese counterpart Didi Chuxing earlier in January.
Founded in 2012, the startup has more than 200,000 drivers and more than 14 million registered users in Brazil.
The Brazilian firm initially focused on working with taxi drivers and was first called 99Taxis, but it later found the peer-to-peer service more profitable. It will continue its taxi service but put more effort into the P2P service, say analysts.
99’s success underscores the fact that there is a growing demand for ride-sharing services in Latin America. Even Cabify, a Spanish startup with extensive operations in Latin America, has also raised $100 million recently, according to Maxi Mobility.
Like all its rivals, 99’s app also allows people to hail taxis and luxury vehicles. Drivers, or owners of the vehicles, share a small part of their income with the ride-hailing firm.
But there is a problem. According to Reuters, there is a spike in robberies involving taxi drivers in Brazil. Robberies involving Uber drivers rose ten-fold last year. Adding to the trouble is a recent court ruling that ride-hailing apps owe employment benefits to their drivers.
SoftBank’s investment is subject to approval by Brazil’s Cade antitrust regulator.