South Korea-based Mobility-as-a-Service platform Kakao Mobility announced in February 2021 that it has raised US$ 200M from global investment firm The Carlyle Group Inc. Carlyle Asia Partners V will provide equity for this transaction.
Kakao Mobility was launched in 2015 as a business entity of Kakao Corp., an integrated mobile lifestyle platform company, and spun-off in 2017. The company has now transformed into the largest MaaS platform in South Korea, with 28 million registered customers. It is based in Pangyo, South Korea, and has over 500 employees. It focuses on delivering an extensive range of mobility services through its Kakao T mobile app. These services include taxi-hailing, personal driver, electric bike hiring, parking, and navigation. It is also developing its autonomous driving technology. Post this investment, Kakao Mobility would leverage Carlyle’s industry know-how and global network to expand into new territories and pursue organic and inorganic development opportunities. It will also continue to invest in its platform’s technology and build an integrated smart mobility platform.
Ryu Gung-seon, CEO of Kakao Mobility, said their association with Carlyle would enable them to accelerate their growth strategy for Kakao’s smart mobility platform, whose goal is to create a more comfortable and suitable mobility experience for users. He also added that being a leading mobility player, they will work with various companies in the mobility industry to build a network through the Kakao T platform by focusing on the customers and enhancing service quality.
The Carlyle Group
The Carlyle Group is a global investment firm with profound industry expertise that dispenses private capital across three business domains: Global Private Equity, Global Credit and Investment Solutions. Carlyle has been funding companies in South Korea for more than 20 years, collaborating with local companies to bring about business growth and value creation. In 2020, the company invested in KB Financial Group and formed a strategic agreement with the company to work together on new investment opportunities both in Korea and abroad, and entered into a strategic partnership with Korean Re to discover co-insurance opportunities. The firm also sold its investment in ADT Caps, the second major security services provider in South Korea, to SK Telecom and Macquarie in 2018. It employs more than 1,825 people in 29 offices spanning five continents. It possesses more than two decades of experience investing in the technology sector, allocating more than US$24 billion globally.
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