India: Cab-hailing service Ola posted 70% jump in revenue to $192m in 2016-17

Ola founder Bhavish Aggarwal. Photo: Bloomberg

India’s largest cab-hailing service Ola, run by ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd, reported a 70% jump in revenue in the year ended 31 March 2017, according to latest regulatory filings.

According to filings with the ministry of corporate affairs, Ola posted revenue of Rs1,286 crore in the 2016-17, compared with Rs758.23 crore in the year-ago period. Ola did not immediately disclose its profit or loss figures, but in 2015-16, the cab-hailing start-up had generated losses of about Rs2,313 crore.

Cab-hailing services, such as Ola and Uber Technologies Inc., generate revenues from the commission that they charge drivers.

The latest numbers indicate that Ola has managed to hold its own against Uber in India over the past 18-24 months, after a brief period when it lost market share to the US-based firm.

Ola is currently locked in a bruising market share battle against Uber, which has expanded rapidly in India since it first launched its service in the country nearly five years ago. Both companies count Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. as a common investor.

Ola and Uber currently are locked in a dispute over who controls how much of the market. Uber claims it is bigger than Ola, but Ola has claimed that Uber is less than half of its size. There is no conclusive way of ascertaining either claim, although company executives at both firms have indicated that Ola still remains the market leader in India.

Ola, which is among India’s most well-funded start-ups, raised $1.1 billion in fresh funding from China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd and existing investor SoftBank Group Corp. of Japan last year in October, giving it enough ammunition to keep arch-rival Uber at bay. Ola is currently in talks with new and existing investors to raise at least another $1 billion.

For Ola to keep Uber at bay and to continue with its ambitious plans to expand and launch in countries outside India, the Indian start-up needs to continue raising massive amounts of capital over the next few years. Earlier this year, Ola launched its service in Australia and is currently evaluating other countries as well.

Including the funding round in October, Ola has so far raised at least $2.6 billion over the past five years from a clutch of investors, such as SoftBank, Sequoia Capital, Accel Partners and DST Global, even as it continues talks to raise more funds. Ola was valued at $4 billion last year after the funding from SoftBank and China’s Tencent Holdings.

Mint reported in May that Ola is adopting a holding company structure similar to that of India’s most successful internet startup Flipkart to boost the cab-hailing company’s valuation and improve the management of its businesses.

Mint also reported earlier in May that SoftBank is in the midst of a boardroom battle with Bhavish Aggarwal, co-founder and chief executive of Ola, after Aggarwal blocked a proposed deal involving Tiger Global Management selling part of its stake to SoftBank.

Also Read:

Ola to set up group company structure to boost valuation, management

Ola, SoftBank in boardroom battle after cab-hailing firm CEO blocked deal

This article was first published on Livemint.com

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.

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.