Online cab aggregator Ola has raised Series F funding worth $500 million from Baillie Gifford, Falcon Edge Capital, Tiger Global, SoftBank Group, DST Global and China’s Didi Kuaidi. It will use the funds for growth related activities and mobility solutions. This round of funding takes Ola’s total external funding to over $1.3 billion, of which $1.2 billion has been raised over the last year.
It also has 350,000 registered vehicles (275,000 cabs and 75,000 auto rickshaws) on its platform, up from 250,000 in August, also when it was doing 750,000 rides daily, in 102 Indian cities. Ola claims that its average ETA for cab arrival has dropped to 5 minutes, while vehicles from Mini and Auto are available within 2 minutes in most cities. Its press statement claims that the company has grown over 30 times in the last year and is clocking 1 million booking requests daily.
Didi Kuaidi has stakes in Ola, Lyft and GrabTaxi: In September this year, Uber’s rival in China, Didi Kuaidi, had invested in Ola’s $225 million round of funding. Didi also invested $100 million into Uber’s biggest US competitor, Lyft. And it also participated in a $350 million round of funding for GrabTaxi, a rival in Southeast Asia.
Global taxi alliance? In January this year, we’d reported that Ola and the southeast Asia based GrabTaxi were in talks to form a global taxi alliance to take on Uber. The alliance was driven by SoftBank Capital and San-Francisco-based Flywheel. However, it seems that the alliance is yet to be formed or has fizzled out given that no news has come of it after January.
Previous Ola funding:
– In September, Ola raised raised $225 million in funding from existing investors and new investors. At this time, Tiger Global invested Rs 296.9 crore, Softbank Rs 384 crore, Falcon Edge Rs 514.7 crore, while the others contributed less than Rs 25 crore each.
– In July, Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus of Tata Sons, invested an undisclosed amount in Ola in his personal capacity.
– In April, Ola had raised $400 million in a series E round of funding led by DST Global, with participation from GIC, Falcon Edge Capital and existing investors SoftBank Group, Tiger Global, Steadview Capital and Accel Partners US.
– Its other funding includes the $210 million it raised from the Softbank Group in October 2014, $42 million from Steadview Capital, Sequoia Capital and existing investors in July 2014, undisclosed Series B investment from Tiger Global and Matrix Partners in November 2013 and undisclosed Series A funding from Tiger Global Management in April 2012.
Uber’s TOF funding: Ola’s most immediate rival Uber raised a ‘significant investment from’ Tata Opportunities Fund (TOF) to expand its services and solutions in India, by making use of TOF’s network within the Tata Group and outside of it.
TFS acquisition: In March Ola acquired its rival TaxiForSure for $200 million. At the time it was said that both the companies would be operating independently, while Ola had earmarked $100 million for TaxiForSure’s expansion when it raised $400 million led by DST Global. However, in June, Ola started integrating TaxiForSure’s hatchback cars into its own booking app. Two months later, Ola shut down TaxiForSure as an independent brand migrating TaxiForSure’s accounts to Ola, along with credits, while ceasing operations in some cities.
Meru in global alliance: In October, another player in the cab segment Meru Cabs partnered with France’s Taxis G7 to launch eCabs, a global alliance of radio taxi operators which would provide cab services to foreign travelers in India and to Indian travelers going abroad through a mobile app.