Ola, one of the largest cab-hailing app companies in India, has secured a little over US$104 million in fresh investment from Falcon Edge Capital and RNT Capital Advisers, a VC fund run by veteran entrepreneur-turned-serial investor Ratan Tata.
As per Ola’s filings with the Registrar of Companies (India), US hedge fund Falcon Edge injected US$62.6 million, with the rest coming from UC-RNT Fund, a joint venture between Tata and University of California Investments.
Founded in Jan 2011 by IIT Bombay alumni Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati, Ola is an on-demand cabs and auto rickshaw booking platform. Using the app, users can book from over 450,000 vehicles across 102 cities.
Ola, which has been struggling to raise funds over the past few months, is locked in a bitter battle with Uber which has fast gained traction ever since its entry into India in 2013. Uber’s better services and new features helped it grow its marketshare considerably.
Last October, there were reports that Ola was in talks to raise US$300 million from existing investor SoftBank, but the deal did not seem to have materialised. SoftBank is already under tremendous pressure to offload its stake in the struggling Snapdeal, which is now in talks for a distress sale with Flipkart.
The last time when Ola raised a major funding was in November 2015 when UK-based investment firm Baillie Gifford infused US$500 million as part of its Series F round of funding. Existing investors Falcon Edge Capital, Tiger Global, SoftBank Group, and DST Global, besides Chinese mobile transportation giant Didi Kuaidi, had also participated.
A month later, Didi Kuaidi, Ola, Lyft and GrabTaxi joined forces to give global giant Uber a run for its money. Under this partnership, the four taxi-hailing leaders would enable international travellers to access local on-demand rides by using the same application they use in their respective countries. Through this, the firms aimed cover a major part of Southeast Asia, India, China and the US, starting in the first quarter of 2016.
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