SK Holdings talks with mobility startups Grab, Turo, SoCar

By Sohn Ji-young
  • Published : Jun 24, 2018 - 15:22
  • Updated : Jun 24, 2018 - 15:22

SK Holdings, the parent company of South Korea’s third-largest conglomerate SK Group, is moving to expand the scope of its global mobility business as it explores new potential partnerships and areas for cooperation with leading future mobility startups worldwide.

SK Holdings said Sunday that it hosted a workshop with Southeast Asia’s top ride-hailing giant Grab, US-based car-sharing service leader Turo and SoCar, Korea’s leading car-sharing firm, to discuss ways to forge synergies and partner for future technology innovation.

The Korean conglomerate currently possesses stakes in the three mobility startups as a strategic investor. It also operates a joint venture with SoCar in Malysia -- SoCar Malaysia -- launched in January this year.

(SK Holdings)

Also present at the recent SK-hosted forum were high-level officials from other prominent mobility startups including China’s car-sharing startup Atzuche and Israel’s automotive data platform service firm Otonomo.

The participating companies discussed their growth strategies and future technology innovation development, focusing particularly on how big data can be best leveraged to improve mobility services, SK said.

“There was an active discussion on mobility data analytics algorithms and their practical application, with the participants engaging in meaningful talks with hopes for continued talks with SK,” SK Holdings said in a statement.

Looking ahead, SK expects its affiliates to cooperate with global mobility startups in technical areas with ties to the automotive industry, including SK Innovation’s batteries for electric vehicles, SK Telecom’s high-definition mapping tech and SK Holdings C&C’ IT solution capabilities.

As the conglomerate’s strategic investment arm, SK Holdings has been betting on mobility startups in Korea and abroad with proven growth potential.

SK Holdings made inroads into this business with a 59 billion won ($53.1 million) in Korea’s car-sharing leader SoCar in 2015. And in 2017, SK led Turo’s $92 million Series D fundraising round together with German automaker Daimler.

Most recently, SK participated as a strategic investor in Grab’s latest $2 billion funding round, alongside the startup’s existing key shareholders including Japan’s Softbank and China’s Didi Chuxing.

The Korean conglomerate has disclosed that it invested 81 billion won toward acquiring a 1.32 percent stake in Grab. It’s the biggest investment in Grab by a Korean company so far. 

By Sohn Ji-young (