Last November, transport firm ComfortDelGro Corp announced that it has set up a US$100 million (S$137 million) venture capital fund to invest in mobility technology startups that complement its land transport business.
“The strategic rationale for setting up the fund is to help increase our leverage in partnerships with technology start-up companies, by giving us a pathway to eventually acquire or monetise them,” said ComfortDelGro Group CEO Yang Ban Seng.
Fast forward six months later, ComfortDelGro has invested in three transport-related technology startups via its corporate venture capital fund ComfortDelGro Ventures.
The size of each investment was not disclosed however.
The first investment is in homegrown SWAT, which specialises in on-demand bus technology that optimises vehicle routes.
It is currently working with ComfortDelGro to extend this shared mobility technology to other bus and taxi service fleets in Singapore and overseas.
According to ComfortDelGro, they’ve already launched their first on-demand bus service overseas in north-west Sydney through ComfortDelGro Corp Australia.
The second investment is in Haulio, which provides on-demand haulage services.
They make use of IoT (Internet of Things) technology to track their containers so they can maximise their fleet of trucks and drivers, which in turn translates to cost and time savings.
“Given the similarities in vehicle fleet operations between container and passenger transportation, the synergies that Haulio brings fit into ComfortDelGro’s intention to expand beyond passenger transport,” said ComfortDelGro.
The third investment is in an Israel-based autonomous vehicle safety testing and compliance technology company called Foretellix.
ComfortDelGro has previously invested US$14 million in Foretellix’s Series A round that closed in January.
Foretellix is focused on developing solutions to bridge the gap between current vehicle testing standards and “the eventual stringent measurable safety and compliance requirements that autonomous vehicles will need to fulfil for full commercialisation”.
ComfortDelGro said this investment is being held by its testing services subsidiary, Vicom.
It will work with Foretellix to explore the feasibility of introducing such a service in Singapore and other Asian markets.
Venturing Beyond Core Passenger Transport Biz
“Even as we continue to look at ways to grow our existing businesses, we are pursuing strategic investments in new and emerging technology start-ups which bridge the gap between what is and what could be,” said Yan.
“We are building a new wing beyond the core passenger transport business.”
Other technology start-up investments being assessed include opportunities that impact ComfortDelGro’s core businesses, including vehicle electrification and autonomous vehicle fleet management systems, as well as adjacent disciplines such as smart logistics, artificial intelligence, cyber security and robotics.
In addition to start-up investments, the firm will be involved in innovation sourcing initiatives and incubating new mobility business concepts and technologies with promising entrepreneurs.
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