U-Hop is an Uber for shuttle vans that’s growing fast in Manila
Manila-based U-Hop has closed seed investments worth a total of $7.4 million, which it will use to roll out in major cities across Asia.
The company has received $2 million from a Philippine corporation with diversified interests, U-Hop’s founder Marvin Dela Cruz tells Tech in Asia. Some $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 growing fast 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 only to 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 are regularly taking its shuttle service.
U-Hop trips are scheduled and paid for in advance and cost an average of just $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.
Nearly two weeks ago, the startup finally got the Philippines Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board’s nod to operate legally in the country. It’s the third transportation app to get the green light from the government; the other two are Uber and Grab.
Uber, in the meantime, has launched its own carpooling service in Manila coincidentally dubbed as UberHop. The new option links up commuters who travel in the same direction.
This post was originally published on Tech in Asia.