Leading cab aggregator Ola on Wednesday said it raised $1.1 billion (Rs 7,150 crore) in latest funding round from venture firms led by Tencent Holdings Ltd, a leading Chinese internet firm. “Our investors like SoftBank and other US-based financial investors have participated in this round of funding,” said the company in a statement here. Ola is also in talks with other investors to raise an additional $1 billion with new and existing investors.
Ola operates in 110 cities across the country using cars, auto-rickshaws, bikes and vehicles equipped with connected car platform for ride-sharing. But the six-year-old mobile-app hailing taxi aggregator did not disclose in the statement which funding round is the latest and how much it had raised cumulatively so far, from whom all and when, with break-up. An Ola spokesperson, however, told IANS later that the company had raised $500 million in November 2015 from investment management firm Baillie Gifford, China’s largest taxi-hailing services firm Didi Kuaidi and its investors Falcon Edge Capital, SoftBank, DST Glob and Tiger Global.
Ola will also benefit from Tencent’s expertise in the country’s mobility market. Then Mumbai-based Ola expanded its operations in March 2015 by acquiring the city-based TaxiForSure competitor for $200 million (Rs 1,200 crore) in a cash-cum-stock deal. “We will invest the fresh funding in supply, technology and innovations to build the country’s growing transportation needs,” said Ola co-founder and Chief Executive Bhavish Aggarwal on the occasion. The company will also use artificial intelligence and machine learning to solve the country’s mobility problems and offer affordable transportation.
IIT-Bombay alumni Ankit Bhatia joined Aggarwal in co-founding Olacabs in January 2011 in Mumbai as a mobile app for personal commuting in cities. The company has about 800,000 vehicles for booking online on its platform in 110 cities across the country to commute on individual or shared basis. Ola has pioneered transportation solutions to solve congestion and pollution problems with share and multimodal electric vehicles on its virtual platform. “As the transportation and mobility sectors are undergoing changes globally, we want to build a competitive system to support a nation on the move,” noted Aggarwal.
Tencent President Martin Lau said as Ola’s offerings were tailored to meet the country’s transportation needs, the partnership would enable his firm to be part of the growing ride-hailing space.