In this current climate, it is seemingly impossible for a startup to maintain the same upwards trend it had experienced pre-pandemic. We’ve seen many crumble over the last few months, with redundancies and, in some cases, bankruptcies.
However, there are a handful of companies around the world pushing through, still securing industry-leading investment to propel the company to new heights. One of these companies is Splyt, which announced promising news last month.
The UK-based scale-up, which is an integrator of mobility apps and travel platforms, has closed an incredible $19.5 million Series B investment round to support its expansion, led by the Japan-based telecommunications and technology company SoftBank and American Express Ventures.
CEO and Founder Philipp Mintchin is, unsurprisingly, very excited about the new opportunities that have opened up for the company moving forward.
“We were extremely happy to complete this investment round and announce it, especially during this challenging period for the industry,” he tells me. “Splyt has been around since 2015, originally launched as a ride-hailing application, and has pivoted into a global mobility network that interconnects different mobility apps around the world and makes them available to multiple travel platforms.”
Splyt first appeared on my radar back in 2019, when Mintchin and his team secured a promising series A investment and gained the backing of Asia’s largest ride-hailing app, Grab. Since then, the company has attracted leading investors from around the world.
Despite the ongoing uncertainly in the industry, Mintchin and his team are powering ahead.
Putting Splyt on the Map
There are so many startups involved in this industry, making it difficult for people to identify the right ones. But, with the backing from such players as Grab, American Express and now SoftBank, Splyt has made its mark on the wider mobility industry.
“SoftBank put us on the map publically, as the company is known for investing in the majority of mobility players around the world, including Alibaba, DiDi, Uber and Grab,” says Mintchin. “We were originally introduced to them by Grab back in summer 2019, so it’s been quite a journey for us.”
Splyt had several milestones that it had to reach before it was able to complete the series B funding and announce it, but Mintchin tells me that the overall experience up to the official reveal was quite fast and straight forward.
“SoftBank shares our vision of building the world’s largest mobility network and they believe in our purpose of unlocking the world for customers and making them feel at home, anywhere.”
SoftBank is not just a shareholder, as they also have a commercial relationship with Splyt. Therefore, they will help the company identify who across the group will be a good fit to partner with and increase operational territories.
Through its ‘Beyond Carrier’ growth strategy, SoftBank is bringing together its assets and investments from various arms of the group. This makes the investment very exciting going forward as this is more than money. This is a true collaboration with shared visions of future mobility.
The Arrival of ‘Super Apps’
Just like SoftBank, Splyt is a big believer in the concept of ‘super apps,’ which is something that is still fairly young in this part of the world. Over in Asia, you have Alipay, WeChat and Grab which are all super apps in their own operational territories, which offer more than just one service, from ride-hailing to payments.
“This plays into our strategy of enabling these super apps on a global platform and SoftBank is helping us achieve this. Not just through what they have invested, but through the commercial partnerships that we have formed,” adds Mintchin.
Only a few years ago, there were isolated platforms providing isolated services, such as food delivery, taxi services and bike-sharing. Now that the industry has opened up and people are starting to understand that there are people like Splyt which are making new platforms to support mobility and transport as a whole, rather than having a division.
With a wider scope of business, services and infrastructure, it is no longer about one or two mobility ‘solutions’, but a holistic solution to the modern transport problems we face today.
“One can’t exist without the other,” says Mintchin.” You cannot replace every mobility company with a platform like ours. We believe that there will always be a regional champion, especially in the ride-hailing and micro-mobility spaces. From our point of view, the regional champions will most likely consolidate all of the services into one super app.”
Although there are still some gaps for Splyt to fill out for micro-mobility, it already has a couple of partners that are being integrated. However, with the experience they have gained during this process for ride-hailing, it will take far less time with these mobility services.
“Overall, we have most of Asia, the Americas and the Middle East covered,” says Mintchin. “The additional regions that we are yet to fill will be driven by our partners and their demands.”