Tokyo tech startup raises $6m for rickshaw loan service in SE Asia
SoftBank, others to back venture's expansion into Thailand, Indonesia
TOKYO -- Eight Japanese companies including autoparts maker Denso and trading house Sumitomo Corp. will invest a total of 700 million yen ($6.43 million) in a tech startup with a unique model for leasing auto rickshaw taxis and other equipment in Southeast Asia.
Telecom SoftBank Group and Globis Capital Partners are also among those investing in Global Mobility Service, a Tokyo-based startup founded in 2013.
Using its proprietary remote control technology, Global Mobility Service allows low-income Filipinos unable to qualify for auto loans to rent specially equipped motorized rickshaw taxis. The engine can be disabled if payments are not made and re-enabled once they are confirmed.
The company will use the fresh capital for systems development and expand to Thailand and Indonesia, where it will market its service to financial institutions and others. It plans to extend its footprint to other Southeast Asian countries and apply this business model to farm, construction and other machinery, helping give consumers denied standard credit access to equipment.