Ola confirms funding of $1.1B led by Tencent and Softbank

Postado Outubro 11, 2017

Our ambition is to build a globally competitive and futuristic transportation system in India that will support and accelerate a nation on the move.

Meant to thwart competition from its biggest rival Uber, Ola is looking to utilise the newly-raised funding for making strategic investments in supply, technology, and cutting-edge innovations geared towards meeting the country's unique transportation needs.

Indian ride-hailing firm Ola said on Wednesday it has raised $1.1 billion from investors led by China's Tencent Holdings and Japan's SoftBank Group and is in advanced talks with other investors for another $1 billion.

In an official statement, the homegrown ride-sharing startup revealed that it is now in advanced talks with other investors to close an additional US$1 billion as part of the current financing round, taking the total fundraise to over US$2 billion.

The latest funding in Ola is also a clear sign of the largest investors in India's start-up ecosystem closing and consolidating ranks, with Alibaba and SoftBank forging an informal alliance of sorts on one hand, and Tencent and Naspers combining forces on the other. Earlier this year, Tencent was part of Flipkart's Dollars 1.4 billion fund raising that also saw participation from Microsoft and eBay. Bhavish Aggarwal, chief executive officer and a founder of Ola said in a press statement. Flipkart is now the world's third-most funded private company.

However, earlier this year both Ola and Uber had faced significant challenges in Bengaluru and Delhi, where the driver partners protested against the drop in incentives. After it sold its Chinese business to Didi Chuxing in August, succeeding in India has become one of the top priorities for Uber.

Ola and Uber now are locked in a dispute over who controls how much of the market. There is no conclusive way of checking either claim.

With the latest round of funding, Ola plans to make strategic investments in its supply chain and technology, while also making significant investments into technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Founded by Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati in January 2011, Ola is now present in 110 cities across the country.

"Ola's unique local offerings are tailored to India's burgeoning transportation needs". Martin Lau, President of Tencent Holdings, said the strategic partnership with Ola "makes it possible for Tencent to be part of the fast-growing ride-hailing space in the country". "We look forward to helping Ola further develop India's transportation solutions".