China’s bike-sharing firm Ofo in talks to raise $1b in round led by SoftBank

Image: Ofo website

Chinese startup Ofo is in talks to raise $1 billion in a new funding round led by Japan’s SoftBank Group, people familiar with the matter said, in what would be the largest fund-raising in the nation’s bike-sharing business.

Didi Chuxing, China’s biggest ride-hailing firm which counts SoftBank as an investor, could join Ofo’s new fundraising round, the sources told Reuters. Ofo could reach a valuation of close to $3 billion after the funding, one of the sources said.

Ofo and Mobike, China’s two largest bike-sharing startups, each has raised over $1 billion since late last year in a cash war to expand market share at home and overseas.

Ofo is seeking fresh capital less than a month after raising more than $700 million from investors led by Alibaba Group and two others, following rival Mobike, which in June announced a $600 million investment led by Tencent Holdings.

The latest Ofo investment plan has not been finalised, the sources said, who declined to be identified as the discussions are private.

SoftBank and Didi declined to comment. Ofo didn’t immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

Ofo did not disclose its valuation in the last funding round. Dai Wei, Ofo’s founder and CEO, had said in April the firm was valued at upwards of $2 billion.

Mobike’s valuation reached around $2.7 billion-$3.0 billion after the June funding round, according to three sources close to the startup.

Mobike declined to comment.

Didi, already an investor in Ofo, has been increasing its influence at the company. Three of its senior executives joined Ofo this week, according to local media.

Ofo told local media on Wednesday it had named Fu Qiang, a former senior vice-president of Didi, executive president of the company but did not confirm the hiring of the other two.

For SoftBank, which recently launched a near $100 billion technology fund, an investment in Ofo would be another bet on China’s sharing-based economy that has already attracted billions in venture capital. The Japanese conglomerate in May agreed to invest $5 billion in Didi, putting an over $50 billion valuation on the Chinese company.

SoftBank’s potential investment in Ofo also comes after New York-based co-working space startup WeWork said on Thursday that it raised $500 million from SoftBank and several Chinese investors to set up a Chinese unit.

SoftBank and Didi are also investing in Southeast Asian ride-hailing firm Grab in its latest funding round, Reuters reported earlier this week.

Also Read:

Bike-sharing firm Ofo raises over $700m in Alibaba-led Series E

‘Uber for bikes’ Mobike raises over $600m led by Tencent

Ofo said to seek $3b valuation in China funding wars

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.