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Ola Raises $1.1 Billion From Tencent, SoftBank And Others

Ramya GovindRaj

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Ola Raises Money From Tencent,Startup Stories,Business Latest News 2017,Inspirational Stories 2017,India Ola Cab Raises Money From Tencent and SoftBank,Tencent Holdings,Chinese Internet Giant Tencent,Ola Latest News,Ola Cabs Success Story

India’s leading cab hailing startup Ola raised $ 1.1 billion in fresh funding from China based Tencent Holdings and Japan’s SoftBank. This investment marks the company’s largest round of funding in their six year history.

The cab aggregator said they are also close to finalizing an additional $1 billion in funds from existing and new investors. The total amount raised from this round of investment may turn out to be close to $ 2.1 billion. According to an official statement, the capital will allow Ola to make strategic investments in their supply chain and technology. Significant investments will also be made to improve their Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning capabilities to help solve some of the unique mobility problems such as heavy traffic in metro cities.

Despite a considerable decrease in their valuation this year, the company may have a post investment valuation of $7 billion. Speaking about the investment, founder and CEO of Ola, Bhavish Aggarwal said, “Our ambition is to build a globally competitive and futuristic transportation system in India.

Chinese Internet giant Tencent has also invested in various other Indian startups such as ecommerce firm Flipkart and messaging application Hike along with the healthcare startup Practo. Speaking about their investment in Ola, the President of Tencent Holdings, Martin Lau said, “Ola’s unique local offerings are tailored to India’s burgeoning transportation needs. The strategic partnership with Ola makes it possible for Tencent to be part of the fast-growing ride-hailing space in the country.”

This latest funding round is the third billion dollar round in a series of billion dollar funding rounds in the Indian startup ecosystem. Previously, Flipkart and Paytm also raised around $3.8 billion and $1.4 billion, respectively. These fresh funds will give Ola the ammunition to keep arch rival Uber Technologies Inc., at bay. However, existing investor SoftBank is also in talks with Uber for a $ 10 billion investment. Reports suggest, SoftBank might call for a consolidation between both the rival companies in the Indian market.

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Funding

Walmart To Invest In Flipkart. Should Amazon Be Worried?

Ramya GovindRaj

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The world’s biggest retailer, Walmart Stores Inc., is in talks to invest in homegrown ecommerce firm Flipkart to acquire a minority stake. According to people close to the development, the deal could be finalized as soon as March this year.

The retailer has reportedly started advanced talks to buy a 15% to 20% stake in Amazon.com Inc’s main competitor. The Economic Times reported, Walmart’s Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon along with ecommerce CEO Marc Lore and future CEO and President Judith McKenna visited Flipkart’s Bengaluru office early last week.

Both Flipkart and Walmart declined to comment regarding the rumors stating, “As a policy, we don’t comment on market speculation.” Walmart spokesperson added, McMillon had been in the country to review its three units in the country.

This potential investment by the retail giant in Flipkart could mar Amazon’s expansion in India. On the global front, Amazon acquired the 400 store network of Whole Foods last year. In India, Amazon has invested close to $ 3 billion in Amazon Seller Services in line with Jeff Bezos’ commitment to invest $ 5 billion in the Indian retail industry.

Walmart’s investment in Flipkart combined with backing from SoftBank could provide the homegrown ecommerce firm the firepower to capture the majority of the market share. In September last year, Walmart completed the $3 billion acquisition of Jet.com following which the company further acquired 15 startups seeking talent and technology to make it a dominant online player as well.

Last year, Flipkart claimed to have a higher sale during the festive season sale, beating Amazon for the top spot. Although Amazon refuted the claim, Flipkart reported a 43% rise in Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) for the six months quarter which ended on 30 September 2017. Amazon Inc., on the other hand, claims it is the second largest player in traffic, accounting for 58% traffic on personal computers, 129% on mobile web and has 52% more app downloads.

The Indian food retail industry has been gaining a lot of attention from international investors including Alibaba which is in talks to buy 40% stake in BigBasket. If Walmart’s investment in Flipkart goes through, the Indian ecommerce industry could see a significant change soon.

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Amazon To Strengthen Amazon India With Another Investment

Ramya GovindRaj

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Amazon To Strengthen Amazon India,Amazon India Another Investment,Startup Stories,2018 Latest Business News,Inspiration Stories 2018,Amazon India Business News 2018,Amazon India Funding Updates,Amazon India CEO,Amazon Latest Investment

Amazon.com, the global ecommerce giant, is investing another $306 million in its Indian arm Amazon Seller Services Pvt., Ltd., as a continuation of its quick pace of investments in the country. According to filings with the Registrar of Companies (RoC,) Amazon Inc., and its Singapore based division, Amazon Corporate Holdings Pvt., Ltd., made the investment in the Indian arm.

According to a news daily, this record capital will add more firepower to the Indian arm as retail giant accelerates efforts to race past larger domestic rival Flipkart. In 2017-2018, Amazon India has received Rs. 8,150 crores, or about $1.3 billion from its parent company. As per filings with the RoC filings, the latest capital infusion marks the fourth time Amazon has invested in India since Flipkart raised $ 4 billion from SoftBank last year.

In November last year, Amazon also invested Rs. 2,900 crores ($446 million) in its Indian unit, making it the single largest infusion into the country’s operations till date. Simultaneously, Amazon Seller Services also doubled its authorized share capital from Rs. 16,000 crores to Rs. 31,000 crores. Currently, the ecommerce firm claims to have over 250,000 registered sellers on its platform.

In 2015, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos also committed to investing $ 5 billion in India towards acquiring new customers and growing market share. So far, the company has pumped in Rs. 19,790 crores, or about $3 billion, into Amazon Seller Services. Meanwhile, Amazon India’s subsidiaries Amazon Wholesale, Amazon Pay, Amazon Transport and Amazon Data Services have received a combined Rs. 2,868 crores since 2016. According to Indian corporate database Capitaline, Amazon is the second largest Indian company in terms of authorized capital, next to Reliance Jio at Rs. 61,000 crores.

The battle between homegrown ecommerce firm Flipkart and Amazon India is only expected to intensify as both the companies turn towards the grocery retail industry. Recently, Amazon India established a beachhead with Amazon Pantry and hyper local delivery service Amazon Now. At the same time, Flipkart relaunched its grocery delivery service supermart and is expected to expand the services to six cities, outlining this as a major focus area.

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Swiggy To Raise $ 200 Million From Naspers and Tencent

Ramya GovindRaj

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Swiggy, one of India’s fastest growing online food ordering and delivery platform, is reportedly in talks with venture capital firms Naspers and Tencent to raise $ 200 million. The Bengaluru based foodtech startup initiated the discussions with Chinese investment conglomerate Tencent and existing investor Naspers for a potential investment.

A news daily reported, South African Internet group Naspers will be leading this round of funding according to three people briefed on the matter. This move to raise fresh capital comes after the company ended independent funding discussions with SoftBank and Flipkart for a $ 200 million investment. The sources also added this deal could value Swiggy at $ 600- $ 650 million before the investment. In the last Series E funding round where Swiggy raised $ 80 million from Naspers, SAIF Partners and others, the company was valued at $ 400 million.

According to sources, China based venture firm Tencent has been looking to co invest in Swiggy along with SoftBank before those discussions came to an end. However, Tencent will now be forging a strategic partnership with Naspers to join the Swiggy bandwagon as a new investor. Sources also suggest Tencent proposed to increase their investment in the startup to around $ 100 million.  

The India foodtech industry is considered to be a very lucrative sector. In November last year, Swiggy was also reported to be in talks with rival restaurant discovery and food delivery rival Zomato for a stock based merger. However, Swiggy later denied all rumors stating the company would not like to comment on baseless speculations. Swiggy was launched in 2014 by Sriharsha Majety, Nandan Reddy, and Rahul Jaimini and since then the company grew fastest in terms of revenue. For the financial year 2016 – 2017 Swiggy’s revenue grew by six times to $ 20.6 million as losses increased by 50%. In the past three years, the foodtech firm has also managed to raise close to $155 million in equity and $8 million in debt.

After the entry of global taxi hailing startup Uber launched their food delivery service UberEATS in India, Ola also recently acquired food delivery startup Foodpanda to enter the foodtech industry.

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