Malaysia-based car-sharing platform SOCAR Mobility Malaysia (SOCAR) has closed a covenant-based investment round of up to $55 million in its recent Series B funding exercise.

SOCAR–currently valued at $213 million–will see both equity and capital injection from South Korea-based EastBridge Partners as well as an investment by Malaysian conglomerate Sime Darby Bhd in this funding exercise, the company said in a press release on automotive news portal

This investment–the first for both entities into SOCAR Malaysia–takes SOCAR’s financing tally to date to $73 million and serves to facilitate SOCAR’s expansion of its multiflex mobility footprint in Southeast Asia.

“We will utilize these funds to supercharge our vision of multiflex mobility and bring the convenience of car-sharing to more people across Southeast Asia. As countries move into new phases of post-Covid recovery, we are committed to using our TREVO platform to create more economic opportunities for car owners while leveraging the supply of vehicles on our platform to remind consumers what it’s like to be free to travel again in the comfort of their own private space, in a vehicle of their choice,” said SOCAR Mobility Malaysia Chief Executive Officer Leon Foong.

The $55 million investment will be channeled towards continuous technological enhancements and investing in further trust and safety measures that will help improve the overall profitability of the business, the company said.

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 two tranches, with 60 percent upfront and the additional 40 percent 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, whereby 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. In response, SOCAR is stepping up offerings that optimize technology to break down barriers, including barriers to accessing safe and comfortable private vehicles as well as new earning opportunities, the company said.

“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 was first launched in Malaysia in January 2018 as a joint venture between SK Inc. and South Korea car-sharing startup Socar Inc. In February 2020, SOCAR completed its Series A funding of $18 million with investment from Eugene Private Equity Co. Ltd. and KH Energy Co. Ltd.

TREVO, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SOCAR was launched at the end of February 2020, as an app-based P2P car-sharing marketplace.

SOCAR is heralding a new era of multiflex mobility with over 2,200 cars in 36 different models in over 1,000 locations in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Johor, Ipoh, and Melaka offered on its SOCAR app.

TREVO currently has close to 6,400 car listings in major cities on its app-based P2P car-sharing marketplace in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Featured image credits: SOCAR

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