Cab aggregator Ola raises $2 billion from Tencent, SoftBank

BT Online        Last Updated: October 3, 2017  | 17:13 IST
Cab aggregator Ola raises $2 billion from Tencent, SoftBank
Ola co-founder and CEO Bhavish Aggarwal

India's ride-hailing company Ola (ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd) raised $2 billion from a clutch of investors. The investors in the new financing round include Japanese telecom giant SoftBank, which is also the largest shareholder in Ola and Chinese internet conglomerate Tencent.

The Bengaluru headquartered start-up also received funding from a venture capital fund jointly run by Tata Sons chairman emeritus Ratan Tata and the University of California's investment arm and several US institutional investors, Bloomberg reported.

Chinese internet giant Tencent has finalised its $400-million investment in ride-hailing service Ola, valuing the company at over $3.8 billion. The paperwork for the transaction has been finalised and the deal is awaiting approval from CCI, another report in The Economic Times said.

"The investment has been completed and the understanding is that a sizeable portion will be allotted towards boosting the electric vehicle segment," it added.

Japan's SoftBank has been looking to consolidate in India's rapidly growing startup ecosystem with investments that include about $1 billion in e-commerce company Snapdeal and $70 million in grocery delivery group Grofers.

In May, the cab-hailing firm had amended its Articles of Association (AoA) giving more rights of its founders and restricting the power of its largest investor SoftBank Group Corp.

According to the amended terms, SoftBank needs the approval of Ola co-founder CEO Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati, who is also Ola's chief technology officer to increase its stake. 

Ola had earlier said the firm is focusing on building a sustainable business and will turn profitable in two years even as it used the analogy of "Vietnam War" to describe competition with its US-based rival Uber.

"We are the local guerillas. We have the Americans carpet bombing us but we will go into the nooks and corners of the country and we will find those opportunities in niche areas and in large areas," Ola co-founder and CEO Bhavish Aggarwal said.

"We have significantly improved our bottom-line over the past year or so and we have a very clear path to profitability . Within the next two years, we will be profitable," Aggarwal said.



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