Published: Thu, October 12, 2017
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

Cab aggregator Ola raises Rs 7150 cr from venture funds

Cab aggregator Ola raises Rs 7150 cr from venture funds

Meant to thwart competition from its biggest rival Uber, Ola is looking to utilise the newly-raised funding for making strategic investments in supply, technology, and cutting-edge innovations geared towards meeting the country's unique transportation needs. Notably, this is the biggest funding round for Ola so far, which has been in work for about a year. The company will make significant technology investments into Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning capabilities to solve for India's unique mobility problems, Ola said.

"We will invest the fresh funding in supply, technology and innovations to build the country's growing transportation needs", said Ola co-founder and Chief Executive Bhavish Aggarwal on the occasion.

Founded in 2011, the startup now operates in 110 cities across India.

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"Ola's unique local offerings are tailored to India's burgeoning transportation needs".

According to the reports that surfaced last week, among the other backers in Ola's financing round was a VC fund jointly run by the University of California's investment arm, Ratan Tata and a number of US-based institutional investors.

But Uber has previously noted how important the Indian market is for the company. "We look forward to helping Ola further develop India's transportation solutions", said Martin Lau, President of Tencent Holdings. Japanese conglomerate SoftBank had pumped in $ 1.4 billion (over Rs 9,079 crore) in Indian digital payments platform, Paytm. With an additional $1 billion commitment to Ola and a plan to lead a $20-billion investment in Uber, SoftBank could force consolidation in the country's transportation market. Flipkart is now the world's third-most funded private company.

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Ola, with its network of 8 lakh driver partners, is now present in 110 cities across the country with over 14 different transportation service categories. The ride-hailing company is also spending heavily on a program to buy vehicles and lease them to drivers, and it is experimenting with electric cars in some cities.

"Even before there is any merger or alliance between the two through global investors, there is already a unified monopoly", Meru's CEO Nilesh Sangoi said.

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