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.