Vietnamese technology startup Be Group announced Monday that it has received at least $60 million from Deutsche Bank, a report from Bloomberg reads. The loan includes a provision that allows it to raise financing up to $100 million.
The fresh funding will help expand Be’s reach in Vietnam and enhance core services, including ride-hailing, food deliveries, and digital banking.
"This financing will facilitate Be Group’s ambition to becoming the number one on-demand multi-service consumer platform for Vietnamese users," the firm said in an official statement.
With its significant presence in Vietnam over the last 30 years, Deutsche Bank said partnering with Be Group demonstrates its unwavering commitment to Vietnamese customers. Deutsche Bank also has a notable presence across 14 markets in the Asia Pacific.
Vietnam currently dominates Asia’s ride-hailing market, with the industry posting an average growth rate of 30-35% annually since 2015. By 2024, the sector could reach $4 billion, driven by a surge in consumer demand and continued expansion and innovation by current players.
Be’s aggressive moves in securing its position in the fast-expanding market are seen as a challenge for Grab, considered the most popular ride-hailing service in Vietnam. Statista data show that 66% of consumers used Grab services in 2021, and its market position is particularly strong in major urban cities, such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, where Grab controls 44% and 82% of the market, respectively.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Be Group’s chief executive officer Vu Hoang Yen said the homegrown technology firm is eyeing market dominance in the coming years. It currently has a 30-40% share of the ride-hailing market in Hanoi and 25-35% in HCMC.
Launched in December 2018, Be Group has expanded into deliveries, online groceries, insurance, telecom service bundles, and financial services. It operates in approximately 28 provinces and cities from north to south.
One of the key ways Be Group differentiates itself is by positioning the company as an “open platform.” The company wants to be a mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) provider and relies on building partnerships with other companies to grow its ecosystem sustainably. MaaS enables users to plan, book, and pay for multiple types of mobility services from a single platform.
To date, the Be app has been installed on more than 20 million mobile devices. It expects to surpass 10 million active users next year, the company CEO told Bloomberg. Be aims to more than double that figure by 2026.
Be’s new funding announcement comes on the heels of Grab’s “wider-than-estimated” loss. Shares of Grab Holdings plummeted by 64.5% in the first half of 2022, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data. The Singapore-based company said its net loss for the second quarter was about $547 million, contracting almost 30% from a year earlier.