$2bn invested in Indian Uber equivalent Ola by SoftBank, Tencent and others
In a yet-to-be-completed second round of funding, Indian ride-hailing company Ola has raised approximately $2bn.
Ola is the Indian equivalent of Uber, which is currently trying to compete in India.
The $2bn funding Ola has raised so far comes from Softbank and Tencent, as well as UC-RNT Fund, which is a venture capital fund run by Ratan Tata and the investment arm of the University of California. Some US institutional sources have also contributed to the funding but these have not yet been named.
Ratan Tata is an Indian investor and former chairman of the Tata Group.
In a previous funding round, Ola was valued at $3.5bn, but this was 30% lower than the highest value it has achieved, which was $5bn in November 2016.
Ola’s valuation after this financing round is not immediately clear.
During the previous round it raised $330mn from SoftBank, UC-RNT and Falcon Edge Capital.
This latest round, when it is completed, will be the second largest funding round over for an Indian start-up.
The largest happened when SoftBank’s Vision Fund and Tencent invested in Flipkart in round which raised an approximate total of $4bn.
It is hoped that the deal will help Ola focus on India and build up its supply of vehicles and drivers, as well as developing strategic technology to help it hold out against multinational rival Uber.
Uber has been increasing its presence in India with driver incentives and promotions recently.
At present, India is seen as one of the world’s most attractive areas for ride-hailing companies like Ola and Uber, with a market estimated to be worth $10bn.
Ola’s parent company is ANI Technologies Pvt.
SoftBank is also said to be considering a multibillion-dollar investment in Uber.
Timeline: India takes unicorn leap with six in five days
We chart an historic week in India’s tech industry, where in just five days, between 5-9 April 2021, the country achieved six new unicorns, bringing India’s total to 10 in 2021 to date, an immense unicorn leap from just seven in 2020 and six in 2019.
April 5: Meesho
India’s first social commerce unicorn, Meesho raised US$300m from SoftBank, Facebook and Shunwei Capital, giving the Bangalore-based startup a US$2.1bn valuation, a threefold jump from its previous funding round in 2019. Founded in 2015 by two IIT-Delhi graduates, Meesho connects producers and resellers, helping small businesses sell through social media. It has 45m customers and has enabled 13m entrepreneurs to start their online businesses with no investment.
April 6: CRED
Founded just over two years ago, Bangalore-based credit card repayment app CRED raised US$215m from Falcon Edge Capital and Coatue, nearly trebling its valuation to US$2.2bn from its January US$80m round. Allowing customers to pay off their credit card debt while earning CRED coins which they cash in for rewards, CRED has grown rapidly during COVID-19, doubling its customer base to nearly 6 million in a year.
April 7: API Holdings / Groww
The first epharmacy startup to gain unicorn status, PharmEasy (API Holdings), which has digitised 60,000 brick and mortar pharmacies and 400 doctors across India, raised US$350m in a round led by Prosus Ventures. Founded by four former Flipkart employees as a way of making investing simple, investment platform Groww became India’s second-youngest fintech unicorn, raising US$83m in Series D funding led by Tiger Global, quadrupling its previous round in September.
April 8: ShareChat
New Delhi-grown social media startup ShareChat, founded in 2016 by Mohalla Tech raised US$502m from Lightspeed Ventures, Tiger Global, Twitter and Snap taking its raised total over six rounds to US$766m and pushing its valuation to US$2.1bn. The funding will be used to grow its user base and short video platform Moj, which launched in 2020 following TikTok’s ban in India. The regional language startup claims 280m users.
April 9: Gupshup
AI-led conversational message startup joined the unicorn club after raising US$100m from Tiger Global giving it a ten-fold valuation of US$1.4bn. The smart messaging platform, which has seen accelerated growth during the pandemic, was founded in Bangalore in 2005 by serial entrepreneur Beerud Sheth, whose online freelancing platform Elance is now listed. Gupshup’s API enables 100,000+ businesses to build messaging and conversation experiences across 30+ communication channels.