Can Bold Innovator, Uber, Hold the Lead in Global Markets?

Uber may be the darling of American investors pursuing a stake in the “sharing” economy and the new models of transportation. But, on the global stage the company is facing headwinds.

Rather than supporting Uber expansion into other regions, such as Southeast Asia and India, foreign banks are putting big money behind their rivals. SoftBank of Japan is in the process of raising $1.5 billion for “Grab” a Singapore-based rival to Uber. Bloomberg reports that SoftBank previously raised $750 million for Grab. The latest round of funding sends Grab valuation at more than $3 billion.

SoftBank is also making a move to fund the rideshare company Ola, based in India. The bank has raised $330 million in the latest round of funding. Ola is valued at between $3.5 and $5 billion, having faced a setback in their valuation due to Uber stepping up activity in India.

Uber may find it challenging to grow into new markets in Asia and the East, as local business models for rideshare grow and adapt to varying conditions. Already the company is facing challenges, with the wreck of one of their self-driving vehicles at the end of March causing their driverless car program to be grounded for three days, and lawsuits regarding driverless technology still unsettled. Clearly the Venture Capital markets see the potential for competition and are betting at least some of their money on Uber’s rivals.