Update: Ola’s Director of Marketing Communications Anand Subramanian told MediaNama that tier-2 and tier-3 cities and town will be the company’s focus as it expands to about 100 new cities by the end of this year. He declined to say what percentage of Ola’s bookings originate from non-metro cities, however he claimed that Ola has grown exponentially at tier-2 and tier-3 cities over the past few months.
Subramanian also mentioned that over the past four years the company has provided about 15,000-20,000 drivers access to discounts from car manufacturers and auto loans at lower interest rates among others. This is something Ola will continue to focus on as it expands to smaller centres. According to Subramanian, of the over 100,000 drivers currently working with them, about 70% own the cars they drive.
In regards to earmarking $100 million for TaxiForSure, Subramanian said that since TaxiForSure has always been focused on the economy segment its services perfectly complements Ola’s services, and hence the decision to allocate new funds and help TaxiForSure expand further.
Earlier: Online cab and auto booking service provider Ola (formerly Olacabs) has confirmed that it 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. The Bangalore-based company had reported $315 million of this funding in a filing with the Registrar of Companies, earlier this month.
The company has earmarked $100 million for the expansion of TaxiForSure, which Ola had acquired for $200 million in March this year. Ola also plans to use part of the investment to expand to about 100 new cities in India by the end of this year. It already operates in over 100 cities and has over 100,000 drivers onboard. Note that TaxiForSure is also operational in about 50 cities and has about 15,000 drivers onboard.
Following this round of funding, Ola has till date raised around $700 million. This includes the $210 million it raised from the Softbank Group in October last year, the $42 million raised from Steadview Capital, Sequoia Capital and existing investors in July last year, 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. Ola had also received angel funding from investors like Rehan Yar Khan and Shaadi.com group founder Anupam Mittal among others in April 2011.
Last month, Ola had launched its food delivery service called OlaCafe in beta in four cities – Bangalore, Hyderabad, Delhi and Mumbai – with the option of paying either via Ola Money or cash. This service is currently available during specific time slots – lunch (12pm-3pm), snacks (3pm-7pm) and dinner (7pm-11pm). In March, the company had also introduced cashless payments for rides on autorickshaws and kaali peeli taxis through its in-app wallet Ola Money across Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune, Ahmedabad, Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai.