SOCAR Mobility Malaysia, which operates the SOCAR and TREVO car sharing platforms, has secured a covenant-based investment of up to US$55 million (RM229.35 m) in a recent Series B funding exercise. SOCAR will see equity and capital injection from EastBridge Partners, based in South Korea, as well as investment from local conglomerate Sime Darby Berhad.
This investment, the first for both entities into SOCAR Malaysia, takes SOCAR’s financing tally to US$73 million (RM304.4 m) to-date. The new investments will facilitate SOCAR’s expansion of its multiflex mobility footprint in Southeast Asia. SOCAR is currently valued at US$213 million (RM888.2 m).
“We warmly welcome our new partners – EastBridge Partners and Sime Darby Berhad onboard SOCAR’s journey of growth, as we expand to bring multiflex mobility to more countries in Southeast Asia. For us at SOCAR, the fact that we were able to have new equity partners join our growth journey during a global pandemic speaks of the confidence our partners have in SOCAR’s leadership in the car-sharing space and our ability to scale TREVO’s peer-to-peer business across the region. We are pleased to strengthen our relationship with Sime Darby Berhad, following existing collaborations with its Motors division, by expanding our strategic partnership into one based on equity interest,” said Leon Foong, CEO of SOCAR Mobility Malaysia.
According to the company, the US$55 million investment will be channelled towards continuous technological enhancements and investing in further trust and safety measures to improve the overall profitability of the business. SOCAR will also be looking at using its fleet expertise to introduce clean mobility to the masses and will be leveraging its peer-to-peer marketplace expertise to further empower fleet and private car communities across Southeast Asia via its TREVO platform. The investment will be structured into 2 tranches – with 60% upfront and the additional 40% disbursed based on agreed conditions.
EastBridge Partners’ investment into SOCAR Mobility Malaysia aligns with its Korea+ core investment strategy that leverages EastBridge’s Korea and Pan-Asia network. Investments are focused on companies with strong fundamentals, high growth potential and global expansion prospects. In the wake of the pandemic, travel and commuting habits have evolved, where consumers want more freedom of choice and options in mobility. SOCAR is optimising technology to break down barriers to accessing safe and comfortable private vehicles as well as new earning opportunities.
“SOCAR’s business model is fundamentally built around matching motorists to vehicles of their choice, thus improved platform efficiency driven by better accuracy in matching drivers and cars will generate additional revenue and savings that we can reinvest into making the car-sharing community safer and more reliable. Once we achieve our targeted liquidity level for the platform, we can then work with partners to offer users other ancillary services that car owners and drivers need such as insurance coverage. When access to a car becomes as easy as tapping a button on your mobile phone, SOCAR’s position in the transportation ecosystem can transform the way people think about budgeting for mobility,” Foong elaborated.
SOCAR is a joint venture between SK Inc. and Socar Inc., launched in Malaysia in January 2018. It had raised US$18 million (RM75.06 m) in Series A funding in February 2020 from Eugene Private Equity Co. Ltd. and KH Energy Co. Ltd.
SOCAR currently has over 2,200 cars in 36 different models in over 1,000 locations in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Johor, Ipoh and Melaka accessible via its SOCAR app. TREVO currently has nearly 6,400 car listings in major cities in its app-based P2P car-sharing marketplace in Malaysia and Indonesia.
Recently, TREVO teamed up with Sime Darby Auto Selection (SDAS), a multi-brand used car dealer, for the ‘Fund Your Drive’ programme. The programme introduces a first-of-its-kind concept in Malaysia that allows buyers to retain greater value in their vehicles purchased from SDAS by guaranteeing resale price to SDAS within 12 months through a BuyBack option, while generating guaranteed income on TREVO to finance car ownership.