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Tata Opportunities Fund invests in Uber for services expansion


Tata Opportunities Fund (TOF) is set to make a ‘significant investment’ in cab aggregating app Uber to expand its services and solutions in India, by making use of TOF’s network within the Tata Group and outside of it. Note that Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus of Tata Sons, invested an undisclosed amount in rival service Ola in his personal capacity last month, at same time when Uber expanded operations to 7 other cities in India, totalling to 18.

Uber currently claims to have a 40% month on month growth rate and a supposed 35% market share. Earlier this month, Uber told MediaNama that it had around 150,000 registered cars in its fleet after rival Ola claimed to own 80% of the online cab market share by registered vehicles.

Funding from Microsoft and BCCL, India investment
Two weeks ago, the company raised around $1 billion in funding from Microsoft and The Times Group’s parent company Bennett, Coleman and Company Limited (BCCL), bringing the company’s total funding to over $5 billion according to reports. At that time, Uber said that the funding will be useful to expand to markets outside the US, most noticeably in India (its second largest market), where it would pump $1 billion over the coming year. In India, it would invest this money in the next 6-9 months to improve its operators, expand to other cities, develop new products and payment solutions and set up a better support network.

Cars damaged in Pune and Mumbai
Last week, the company called for support from its users after incidents of its cabs being damaged, drivers assaulted and Uber-issued mobile phones being taken away registered in Pune and Mumbai, by some groups of people. Uber claimed that the ‘politically motivated groups’ were threatening to shut down aggregator services in the city after issuing strikes and aimed at pressurising the government to pass laws against the aggregator industry in the state of Maharashtra. The group’s rules state that: ‘Public Service Vehicle’ badge will be issued only to those applicants who had lived in the state for over 15 years and could read and write in Marathi.

Times Internet’s Uber partnership
In March this year, Times Internet*, the digital business owned by Times of India group, entered into a strategic partnership with the taxi booking service Uber in a deal that was “centered around a commercial marketing arrangement accompanied by a small investment”, according to the company. The marketing part of the deal, according to Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, included the Times of India group’s “print, radio, OOH, and digital marketing platforms”. Uber has similar partnerships, including with Baidu in China, AmericaMovil in LatAm and American Express in the US.

Also Read: The implications of California Labor Commission ruling that Uber drivers are its employees

Our Uber coverage here.

*Disclosure: Times Internet is an advertiser with MediaNama

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