UPDATED 23:03 EDT / OCTOBER 02 2017


Report: Ola raises $2B to take the good fight to Uber in India

Indian ride-hailing firm Ola has raised $2 billion in a round led by SoftBank Group Corp. and Tencent Holdings Ltd., with an aim to expand its operations to beat back U.S. rival Uber Technologies Inc.

The round included RNT Capital Advisors and a number of unnamed U.S. institutional investors, according to a report from Bloomberg.

News that Ola, formally ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd., was looking to raise a large round first appeared in November 2016 when it was reported that it was to be $500 million on a valuation of $3 billion to $4 billion, down from a valuation of $5 billion when it last raised $500 million in November 2015. The company was reported to have raised $330 million on a $3.5 billion valuation in February but Ola did not confirm the round.

Founded in 2010, Ola allows users to use its app to book a taxi in over 100 cities in India and, like Uber, offers a variety of options from basic taxis and in some cities rickshaws (tuk-tuks) to luxury vehicles. In addition to transport services, the company also has a partnership with State Bank of India and Punjab National Bank to operate as a mobile ATM, as well as Ola Play, an Apple Music-infused platform in partnership with Qualcomm Corp. that delivers on-demand international and local music content to more than 100 cities.

In 2016, the company completed about 500 million rides, up from 130 million rides the year before, making it India’s largest ride-hailing provider for the year. Uber, fresh from having exited China through its deal with Didi Chuxing Technology Co. in August 2016, has invested heavily in the country in a push that appears to be paying dividends. A report in July claimed that Uber now held a 50 percent market share to Ola’s 44 percent.

The valuation of the new round is not known, but given that the company seems to be losing market share to Uber and it was reportedly unable to match revenue growth with its peers such as Lyft Inc., there’s a strong possibility that the funding could be a “down round” worth less than $5 billion.

How much Ola has raised to date is difficult to determine as it is alleged to have raised a number of smaller private equity rounds without confirmation. As of November, the figure was around $1.2 billion from investors including ABG Capital, Accel Partners, Didi Chuxing, DST Global, GIC, Matrix Partners, Mauritius Investments and Sequoia Capital.

Photo: Ola



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