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SoftBank and Others Invest $250 Million In OYO

Ramya GovindRaj

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SoftBank Vision Fund along with the existing investors Sequoia India, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Greenoaks Capital have invested around $ 250 million in the budget hotel aggregator startup OYO. Sunil Munjal led Hero Enterprise also participated in this Series D funding round.

The fresh funds will give OYO the growth capital to scale up its network and invest in its recently launched effort to create premium, self managed hotels under the Townhouse brand. This is OYO’s largest ever funding round and will give the company the heft to battle the large online travel agencies MakeMyTrip and Goibibo, which joined forces in October last year.

Japanese major SoftBank previously invested in OYO in April 2016, where the company raised $ 200 million from the funding round. Speaking about the company, SoftBank’s Board representative, Justin Wilson said OYO has solidified its position in India as the leading accommodation brand for consumer affordability and high quality standards and they are excited to continue their support to OYO as they further expand their position in India. SoftBank, at present, backs various other Indian startups such as Paytm, Flipkart, Hike, Grofers and InMobi.

The Gurugram based company, founded by Ritesh Agarwal in 2013, will use the capital to support their expansion into newer markets in India and abroad. OYO has already started its expansion plans in South East Asia and entered Malaysia and Nepal in January and April this year, respectively. Till date, they have raised close to $ 436 million in funds through four funding rounds. While the valuation of OYO post this round of funding was not revealed, it is expected to be much higher than its valuation of $ 460 million from their last funding round in August 2016. A news daily reported OYO’s valuation may be as high as $850 million to $900 million after this Series D round.

Ritesh Agarwal, the founder and CEO of OYO said the company will focus on accelerating network coverage to consolidate their leadership in the economy through OYO Rooms and through the Townhouse brands. “We will also deploy fresh capital to take our made in India business model to international markets which are characterized by a similar supply demand imbalance in real estate and hospitality,” he added.

Other players in the hotel aggregator market space include RedDoorz, Wudstay Hotels, FabHotels, Treebo Hotels and GoStays.

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Funding

SoftBank Looking At Investing In Zomato

Startup Admin

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SoftBank, Japan based investment firm, is looking at opening investments in the restaurant discovery and food delivery platform, Zomato. Six months after the initial talks, the investment platform is working at investing around $ 250 million in the homegrown food delivery platform. The investment firm also held multiple conversations with Swiggy for a possible investment. Two people involved and familiar with the conversation said, “(Swiggy) is of the view that it is still little early to raise a large cheque from the Japanese firm.”

According to reports, SoftBank is in talks to invest in different areas of Zomato, spanning over the platform’s three main metrics as well as Zomato’s international expansion plans over the next few years. In Zomato’s last round of funding the platform raised $ 200 million from Chinese based e commerce platform, Alibaba’s payments affiliate, Alipay.

This new development comes shortly after SoftBank’s decision on whether or not it wants to sell more than 20% of its stake post the Flipkart take over by Walmart. “SoftBank discussed business metrics across Zomato’s three main business lines. One of the points of conversations revolved around Zomato’s international expansion over next few years,” said the person pointing out that “there is no guarantee the conversations will materialize into an investment.”

While SoftBank is still scanning India’s food delivery space looking to finalize a candidate for a likely investment of  $ 200 to 400 million, a final decision on its investment is likely to be taken by the end of the year. With the food industry increasing by 125 % in the year 2017, international investors are looking at increasing their hold on the growing food sector in the Indian market. With order values increasing to 4 to 5 lakhs a day, the food sector is definitely increasing at a fast and continuously growing pace. SoftBank is also the largest shareholder in the cab hailing applications Ola and Uber, both of which acquired and launched food delivery services last year.

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SoftBank To Infuse A Whopping $ 3 Billion In Paytm Mall

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SoftBank Group Corp., a Japanese multinational conglomerate is making headlines for investing a whopping  $ 3 billion in the Indian digital e wallet giant, Paytm.

However, the CEO of SoftBank, Masayoshi Son is not sure whether to sell SoftBank Vision Fund’s 21% stake in India’s largest online retailer, Flipkart. Earlier in April, Paytm Mall raised $ 400 million in a financing round led by SoftBank along with participation from Alibaba. With that funding, Softbank took 21% stake in Paytm Mall.  According to the recent Walmart-Flipkart deal agreement, SoftBank can go ahead with other deals only when it exits from Flipkart. However, the Japanese conglomerate is having second thoughts regarding its exit from the etailer firm. The venture capital firm should now set itself free from a clause in its agreement with Flipkart that restricts it from investing more than $ 500 million in the Paytm Mall App until 2020. So, as of now, Softbank is in talks to invest as much as $ 3 billion in the Paytm Mall App.

Paytm may proceed further with the funding only if SoftBank makes its exit from the etailer firm, Flipkart. SoftBank is not sure about selling off its Flipkart shares because of tax implications and as it sees a further increase in the valuation for Flipkart. SoftBank is expected to gain about $ 4 billion if it sells its entire 21% stake in Flipkart to Walmart.

Apart from these fundings, SoftBank had also invested an amount of $ 900 million in the other major e commerce player, Snapdeal. Paytm Mall surpassed the Indian e commerce market, replacing Snapdeal as the third largest player including Flipkart and Amazon India. Currently, Paytm claims to process about 1 billion transactions every quarter and aims to double the figure to 2 billion. Besides this, the payments  and e commerce firm, aims to process Rs. 60, 000 crores in monthly bank transfers by the year end. The company announced earlier to invest over Rs. 5,000 crores in 2018 in its payments and financial services. Paytm,  the digital e wallet giant is providing customers innumerable payment services that is making their lives easier! The effect the Walmart-Flipkart deal will have on the e commerce industry is yet to be seen.

 

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Ola Acquires Ridlr To Enhance Public Transport

Smruthi Kishore

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In an attempt to improve its navigation technology, homegrown cab conglomerate Ola, acquired transportation and traffic tracking app, Ridlr, for an undisclosed amount. With arch rival Uber racking in the big bucks, Ola made this acquisition to make sure it stands out on all fronts. The buyout comes shortly after Ola recently raised $ 1 billion, started its services abroad, acquired a food platform and shut down its bus unit, Ola Shuttle.

As a part of the acquisition, Ridlr’s workforce of 64 will merge with Ola, while co founder of Ridlr, Brijraj Vaghnani, will continue to lead the day to day operations. Currently operating in New Delhi and Mumbai, the traffic tracking app offers information on bus and train routes. Apart from this, the company also helps users book transportation for public services as well as track real time traffic.

Through the acquisition, Ola is aiming at building a seamless experience for commuters who use its service in conjunction with public transport services like buses, trains and the metro. Furthermore, the acquisition helps strengthen Ola’s efforts in making travelling a truly effortless experience. According to reports, both Ridlr and Ola believe this merger is going to enable multi modal mobility solutions for their users at a larger scale.

Rumours of an Ola and Ridlr tie up have been going around for quite a while. Now that the deal has gone through, Ola has made it clear it wants to uset the resources at hand to bring new technology and mobility options as it makes plans to take over the world one city at a time.

Bhavish Aggarwal, Co-Founder and CEO of Ola shared in a media statement that public transportation is a lifeline of millions of Indians and powering their needs like real-time information, mobile ticketing, cashless payments, and reliable services is bound to impact their end experience.”

“The challenge really is to make the entire ecosystem inclusive and robust for all. Ridlr, in a short span, has made huge strides in this space, and this latest acquisition lends muscle to our efforts in making transportation a far more holistic service,” he added. With this new relationship, it stands to see what Ola can achieve in the long run.

 

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