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Ola raises $225M in funding from existing & new investors


Online cab aggregator Ola has raised $225 million in a round of funding from existing investors Falcon Edge Capital, SoftBank, Tiger Global Management, Steadview Capital, ABG Capital, FII LTR Focus Fund and new investors JS Capital, Parkwood Bespin and Daniel E Neary, reports the Mint. The report, which cites documents filed by Ola with the Registrar of Companies, mentions that Tiger Global invested Rs 296.9 crore, Softbank invested Rs 384 crore, Falcon Edge invested Rs 514.7 crore, with the others contributing less than Rs 25 crore each.

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. It’s not clear if the current funding is a part of this round or is fresh funding.

Considering the current round, Ola has raised over $925 million over the last few years. 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.

Note that competitor Uber recently raised around $1 billion in funding from Microsoft and The Times Group’s parent company Bennett, Coleman and Company Limited (BCCL). Uber had said then that it would use the funding to expand in markets outside the US, most noticeably in India where Uber said it would pump over $1 billion in the coming year.

Drivers charged for using the platform:

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Earlier this month, Ola and rival Uber started charging their drivers Rs 300 a week to try and prevent them from using other aggregating platforms. This charge, which applies regardless of usage, is being attributed to phone, mobile Internet connections and other services provided by the aggregators.

Interestingly, Ola also started offering drivers cashbacks and other benefits this month, like cashbacks of Re 1 for every liter of fuel filled at IOCL stations across India. Today, Ola also launched a cab leasing program for drivers which would let them lease a car for a deposit and monthly lease payments, with an option to own the vehicle after 3 years. 

Kolkata’s yellow taxis on Ola:

The online cab aggregator also introduced Kolkata’s yellow taxis on its platform. The company claimed to have over a 1,000 yellow taxis on the app already and said that it would register overall 5,000 taxis in the next 3 months. Ola has provided the taxi drivers with smartphones which will help them accept rides and navigate to the location.

Ola-TFS integration:

In late June, Ola started integrating TaxiForSure’s (TFS) hatchback cars into Ola’s own booking app. The integration was visible only to Delhi and Mumbai users for starters and was to be rolled out to other cities in phases. The TaxiForSure app would continue to operate with all categories.

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Last month, TaxiForSure said that it was shutting down its independent brand in 22 cities and migrating to Ola. The company said that it was transferring all TFS credits to the user’s bank account and all the promotional credits would be migrated to Ola Money.

Ola goes app only:

In July, the online cab aggregator stated that it was going app only from this month across its 100 cities of operation. Ola used to let users book cabs by calling 3355-3355 before this move, which will now be used for call centre operations (customer support). The company also updated the app to better support content loading on 2G networks, it said in a statement. The app would reportedly allow users to save on their data usage and work even in areas of poor connectivity.

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