Ola Raises $1.1 Billion From Tencent, SoftBank And Others
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.
Carl Pei’s Nothing Invites Retail Investors
Carl Pei said the time came for him to leave OnePlus and focus on other interests, following which he resigned from OnePlus in October 2020. Since then, Pei had been working on his new startup in the audio hardware sector. Carl Pei unveiled the name of his startup which is now called as Nothing, on January 27th, 2021. Since the unveiling of Nothing, Pei’s startup has attracted a lot of attention from Silicon Valley and venture capitalists.
Carl Pei now seems to be emulating his success formula at OnePlus with his new startup Nothing. OnePlus is highly customer centric, because as a company they take in inputs from their consumers and adapt them to their products. Pei seems to be using the same strategy with Nothing, as he invited retail investors to invest in his new startup. Normally a startup raises Series A funding to begin product development and then goes on to Series B and so on. For a normal retail investor to invest in a stock, they could only do it at the time of an Initial Public Offering (IPO) at the time of which the company would be valued highly. However, Carl Pei is letting in investors from the beginning.
Usually the community has to wait for an IPO to invest, but by that time, the valuation is already high. We are inviting you to own Nothing from the very beginning, at the same price as our Series A, and be on board for the entire ride.🚀 https://t.co/mnQtoiJwOV
— Carl Pei (@getpeid) February 16, 2021
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This lets the investors be a part of the product development process and makes Nothing more personalised. Moreover the investors would also act as promoters for the products. Currently, there are $ 1.5 million worth of shares available. Users can invest a minimum of € 50 and a maximum of € 20,000. However, the demand to invest is off the charts and was unexpected as Carl Pei confirmed there was an interest worth of $ 10 million from 8,700 users.
WOW we have just reached $10m USD of registered interest in just 7 hours from over 8,700 people! So grateful for the amazing community behind @nothing ! 🥰🥰
— Carl Pei (@getpeid) February 16, 2021
Nothing’s first wireless earphones will be unveiled in the summer of 2021. Nothing aims to build an ecosystem of listening devices which talk to each other. Initial investors of Nothing include the likes of Tony Fadell (Principal at Future Shape and the Inventor of the iPod,) Casey Neistat (YouTuber,) Kevin Lin (Co founder of Twitch,) Steve Huffman (CEO of Reddit,) Liam Casey (Founder and CEO, PCH,) Paddy Cosgrave (Founder of Web Summit,) Kunal Shah (CEO of CRED) and Josh Buckley (CEO of Product Hunt.) Alphabet’s investment arm Google Ventures was the latest investor in Nothing as they invested $ 15 million.
Startup India Seed Fund To Be Disbursed From April 1st
There is no doubt India has a strong foothold in the startup ecosystem. India currently ranks third in the world for the number of startups, next only to the United States of America and China. This was possible due to the Indian Government’s initiatives to develop the startup ecosystem and also due to a strong presence of unicorn startups like PayTM, Zomato, Unacademy and many more.
The Government of India announced it would begin to disburse INR 945 crores seed capital from April 1st, 2021 under the Startup India Seed Fund Scheme in a bid to boost the startup ecosystem in India. These funds would be distributed through select incubator partners all over the country. This scheme will be implemented by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT.)
In a gazette notification, DPIIT announced that Startup India Seed Fund Scheme will provide financial assistance to startups that have been recognised by the DPIIT and incorporated not more than two years ago at the time of application.
The Guidelines for Startup India Seed Fund have been notified by @DIPPGOI We are on course to implement the scheme wef 1 April ‘21. Please see the details here: https://t.co/pUvXaEwbj2
— Anil Agrawal (@anilarch) January 29, 2021
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The Startup India Seed Fund Scheme will have a common central application on the Startup India portal for startups on an ongoing basis. An Experts Advisory Committee (EAC) will be formulated to oversee and monitor the overall execution of the scheme. The EAC will evaluate and select the incubators for allotment of the seed funds and place measures for the efficient disbursement of funds.
The government also mentioned preference will be given to startups working in the areas of agriculture, education, food processing, healthcare, social impact, waste management, water management, financial inclusion, biotechnology, energy, mobility, defence, space, railways, textiles and oil and gas.
CRED’s Kunal Shah Invests In One Plus Founder Carl Pei’s Startup
Carl Pei is one of the most well known names in the startup circles considering he gave the world one its best smartphone brands OnePlus. Since the debut of OnePlus One. The smartphone maker earned the moniker ‘flagship killer’ and has grown in leaps and bounds. Today OnePlus boasts on an impressive product line up apart from its smartphones and is one of the leading electronic brands in the world. In October 2020, Carl Pei said the time came for him to leave OnePlus and focus on other interests. Since then, Pei had been working on his new startup in the audio hardware sector.
Thank you. @PeteLau @oneplus https://t.co/2RD9AdyWhO
— Carl Pei (@getpeid) October 16, 2020
The name of Carl Pei’s new startup will be unveiled on January 27th, 2021 but in the past three months the unnamed startup received almost $ 7 million in seed funding. The investors include Tony Fadell (Principal at Future Shape & Inventor of the iPod,) Casey Neistat (YouTuber,) Kevin Lin (Co-founder of Twitch,) Steve Huffman (CEO of Reddit,) Liam Casey (Founder and CEO, PCH,) Paddy Cosgrave (Founder of Web Summit) and Josh Buckley (CEO of Product Hunt.)
The latest to invest in Carl Pei’s startup is Indian based CRED founder Kunal Shah who invested an undisclosed amount. Shah is not new to being an angel investor as he already has a portfolio of investing in almost 80 startups. “Carl is working on a new consumer electronics company that I am sure will be a disruptor in the tech industry. I am excited to be part of this journey (sic,)” the CRED founder said in a statement.
While Pei’s startup is headquartered in London, more details will be known on January 27th, 2021.
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