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Ola raises $2B from SoftBank, Tencent, and others: Report

Cab aggregator Ola (ANI Technologies) has raised yet another round of funding of $2 billion from a group of investors including its existing investors SoftBank Group Corp. and Tencent Holdings Ltd, reports Bloomberg. When queried for a confirmation, an Ola spokesperson declined to comment.  

According to the publication, other investors include UC-RNT fund, a joint venture between Ratan Tata’s RNT Associates and the University of California, and several US institutional investors. However, the report says that the funding rounds is not over yet, and the amount could change, hence the valuation of the total funding raised in unclear as of now.

Previous funding

Ola has been on funding spree,,the latest financing is the second-largest funding round in an Indian startup, after Flipkart, according to Bloomberg.

-Ola recently raised $36 million (Rs 231 crore) from New York’s Tekne Capital Management in August. Two months before that, It had raised $50 million from Tekne in June.

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-In May, Ola raised Rs 670 crore from Ratan Tata’s venture fund RNT Capital Advisers LLP and US hedge fund Falcon Edge Capital LP. And, $250 million from Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp, in April.

-In November 2015, Ola Cabs raised Series F funding worth $500 million from Baillie Gifford, Falcon Edge Capital, Tiger Global, SoftBank Group, DST Global and China’s Didi Kuaidi.

Cab Battle Ground

The fresh round of equips Ola in its battle against Uber in India, and many other eyeing this space. In May this year, Uber infused Rs 51.64 crore into its India operations.

Ola entered the market in early 2011, and had a market share of only 5-6% in the year 2012-13. The share increased to 61-62% in the year 2015-16 (till September 2015), taking the lead in September 2014. Ola’s growth in January 2015 was 75-76%, as compared to 0-1% in June 2012.

Uber, starting operations in Bangalore in August 2013, had a market share of less than 1-2% in 2013-14, which increased to 9-10% in the year 2014-15. Uber maintained the second position from March 2015 onwards.

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For the six month period up to September 2015, Ola’s market share increased marginally by 2% to 3%, while Uber’s share increased by about 20%-22%. From January to September 2015, Uber’s trip size registered growth of nearly 1200%, while Ola’s growth was about 63% during the same period. Ola’s market share started to decline after Uber’s entry, to 58-59% by September 2015. Meanwhile other global players like Grab taxi are too looking at India.

Apart from Ola and Uber neck-to-neck race, some prominent businesses are set to enter the space. Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Jio is expected to roll out an app-based taxi service this year, for which it ordered some 600 cars to kick start the service. The service is likely to be called Reliance Jio Cabs.

Vehicle manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd is also set to foray into ride-hailing and cab aggregation business, as intends to make urban electric taxis,  and plans to invest in the ride-sharing space.

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Writes about e-commerce, social media, tech and Internet ecosystem.

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