India’s largest home-grown cabs aggregator Ola has secured US$330 million in a new financing round from existing investor SoftBank, at a valuation of US$3.5 billion, according to multiple reports. A few of its existing investors have also contributed to this round, according to Business Standard.
The valuation at which the fresh investment was made is at least 30 per cent less than its peak valuation of US$5 billion when it raised its previous round of funding.
A few months ago, there were reports that SoftBank was looking to invest up to US$300 million in the Mumbai-based company. As per an Economic Times then, Ola was raising a total of US$500 million from that round, which could stretch up to US$700 million as more investors had showed interest in investing in it.
Ola, which is still the numero uno in the Indian cab-hailing industry, is pitted against world’s number one company Uber. The new funding infusion will help Ola to raise the game against the San Francisco-headquartered company, which is currently valued over US$15 billion.
Ever since its entry into the market by the end of 2014, Uber — with a cash reserve of US$8.7 billion to date — has been fighting a long battle against Ola and has seized a significant marketshare in the country. The battle even reached the Court when the companies accused each other of flouting rules and questioned the nationality of each other.
Ola, founded in Jan 2011 by IIT Bombay alumni Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati, is an online cabs and auto rickshaw booking platform. Using the Ola app, users across 100 cities can book from over 100,000 vehicles. The Ola app is currently available on Windows, Android and iOS platforms.
In November 2015, Ola had raised US$500 million in its Series F round of funding, led by UK-based investment firm Baillie Gifford. 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, leading on-demand taxi hailing companies 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.
In mid-2016, Ola had fired around 700-1,000 employees and shut down TaxiForSure, which it had snapped for US$200 million in March last year. The move was aimed at tightening its purse strings, as the company intended to dominate the India market.