India: SoftBank-backed Ola raises $36m from Tekne Private Ventures

Ola co-founder and CEO Bhavish Aggarwal (left) poses with an Ola driver. Source: Ola website

SoftBank-backed cab aggregator Ola has raised Rs 231.83 crore ($36.3 million) from US-based hedge fund Tekne Private Ventures, wire agency PTI reported citing company’s documents fire Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA).

The deal saw Ola allot a total of 171,173 fully and compulsorily convertible preference shares to Tekne on June 7, 2017. Out of the total shares, 1.23 lakh shares were allotted to Tekne Private Ventures III LP, US for Rs 167.15 crore and 47,548 shares worth Rs 64.28 crore were issued to Tekne Private Ventures I Master from Cayman Islands, the report said.

With the fresh funding, the company has raised over $1.7 billion so far in cash.

In a bid to dominate the India market and take on the aggressive expansion by US-based ride hailing giant Uber, cab aggregator Ola has been raising funds over the last 12 months. Ola is also likely to raise $400 million from Chinese internet major Tencent, according to another media report.

In May this year, it had received Rs 670 crore ($104.4 million) in funding from UC-RNT Fund, a venture between the University of California and Ratan Tata and FO Mauritius I Ltd.

The Bangalore-based firm had raised about $250 million from SoftBank in November last year which valued the company $3 billion, lower than its earlier valuation of $4.5 billion. Earlier, Ola had raised investments from SoftBank Group, Tiger Global, Matrix Partners, Steadview Capital, Sequoia India, Accel Partners US and Falcon Edge.

Uber’s business in India

Uber which competes with Ola in India, said its India business has grown over 100 per cent year-on-year, driven by strong adoption of services like Pool and expansion into smaller cities.

According to another PTI report, the number of completed trips on its platform have increased to 41.3 million in July when compared to 19.2 million in the same month last year.

“Our July 2017 numbers mark a 115 per cent growth over the same month last year. We continue to innovate on new products like UberMoto, UberHire and use technology to further streamline rider and driver acquisition, retention and marketplace efficiency,” Uber president India and South Asia Amit Jain told PTI.

Uber which operates in 29 cities in the country, has completed 500 million trips and has 2.85 lakh active driver partners on its platform, and has about 8 million monthly active users in the country, the report added.

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