Boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather is now the sole disclosed investor of Manila-based transportation network company (TNC) U-Hop. The 41-year-old retired American boxer is pouring his investment through The Money Team (TMT), his own brand and investing firm.
In a recent announcement by the ride-hailing service provider, TMT’s undisclosed capital infusion will be used mostly to fund international expansion—in the U.S. and in a few other countries in Southeast Asia.
Both parties did not elaborate on the specific details of this partnership but U-Hop Chairman Marvin dela Cruz told the BusinessWorld that as a “part of the company,” Mayweather will help bring the brand to other countries particularly in the U.S. “As you know, Floyd has plenty of resources and at the same time connections in other countries. We will utilize those resources to help us expand,” he said.
U-Hop is currently the second biggest TNC in the country, far behind giant rival Grab, which controls up to 93% of the local ride-hailing market. The company recently resumed its ride-hailing services, almost two years after it terminated its transport network vehicle service (TNVS) operations due to the moratorium on new car and driver applications imposed by the Land and Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB). But it has continued its shuttle and air services operations.
To date, U-Hop has up to 10,000 drivers in its network, though only 1,000 of those are active. This is why the company is also convincing other TNVS drivers to get into its platform. Dela Cruz said they are aiming to sign up about 25,000 drivers into their system by the end of the year.
Global leadership goal
If its plans proceed unhalted, U-Hop will launch its U.S. operations in June 2018—initially in Los Angeles and San Francisco in California. The service will eventually expand to San Diego, Dallas, and Houston. Within the year, it will also roll out services in Singapore, Vietnam, and Thailand.
“Soon, this company could be worldwide, surpassing Uber and other companies. It could be No. 1,” Mayweather said. In a recent press conference, he urged Manila-based consumers to download the U-Hop app and patronize its service. During that briefing, he revealed that he got interested in investing in the local TNC through the advice of his personal assistant, who is from the country.
Mayweather’s ongoing visit in the country is controversial as many Filipinos and boxing fans worldwide still hope that he would eventually agree to a rematch between him and homegrown boxing champ, Senator Manny Pacquiao, whom he beat in a much talked about boxing bout in May 2015.