Cab rider Ola raises $1.1 bn from venture funds

Ola Raises $1.1 Billion From Tencent Soft Bank as It Continues Fight With Uber

Ola Raises $1.1 Billion From Tencent Soft Bank as It Continues Fight With Uber

The source also said that USA investors will be involved in the second tranche of the funding round.

"Ola is also in advanced talks with other investors to close an additional $1 billion as part of the current financing round, concluding a total raise of over $2 billion", a company release said.

It also said it would invest in artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities, which includes technologies like its in-car entertainment platform called Play that allows riders to choose music and stream videos.

The company, which now has a majority share of India's ride-hailing market, operates in 110 cities and has a wide range of transport options including bikes, auto-rickshaws and electric cars.

Bhavish Aggarwal, Co-Founder and CEO of Ola, said, "We are thrilled to have Tencent Holdings join us as new partners in our mission to build mobility for a billion Indians". The transportation and mobility industries are seeing huge changes globally.

According to a Reuters report, Mohit Saraf, a senior partner at Indian law firm Luthra & Luthra, said while SoftBank's Uber investment would spark antitrust issues in India, the CCI would need to assess whether Uber and Ola dominate the overall taxi market which is replete with local operators of yellow-and-black coloured cabs.

Ola has pioneered transportation solutions to solve congestion and pollution problems with share and multimodal electric vehicles on its virtual platform. Softbank is already one of Ola's major investors. Tencent, for example, has invested in similar start-ups to Ola such as Indonesian ride-hailing app Go-Jek.

The money raised in this new funding round will give Ola a post-money valuation of over $4 billion.

Tencent's entry could help Ola counter the influence of its largest shareholder SoftBank. In 2016, it had sold its China-business to rival Didi Chuxing. Among them, the San Francisco-based firm and its new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi are fighting to continue operating in London - one of Uber's biggest markets - while also going up against Google's Waymo in court over allegedly stolen self-driving auto technology.

The new investment comes as Ola's top competitor, Uber, continues to face challenges around the world. The Bengaluru-based company operates in 110 Indian cities as compared to Uber's 29.

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