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Uber's Indian rival Ola scores $1.1B investment

11 October 2017

Indian ride-hailing firm Ola said on Wednesday it has raised $1.1 billion from investors led by China's Tencent Holdings and Japan's SoftBank Group and is in advanced talks with other investors for another $1 billion.

Ola will make strategic investments in supply, technology and innovations "to build for the country's unique transportation needs". "Our new partners share our passion for building the future of transportation in India together and we look forward to learn and benefit from their global perspectives and ecosystems", said Bhavish Aggarwal, co-founder and chief executive officer of Ola. Prior to this, the company had raised about $1.9 billion since it began operations in 2011.

The increasing interest in Ola comes at a time when Uber has been embroiled in a series of internal challenges. In November 2016, SoftBank had invested United States dollars 250 million in Ola.

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Ola plans to pour the money into new technologies including artificial intelligence and machine learning, an area with which Tencent is all too familiar.

While ANI Technologies is not a publicly-traded company, according to regulatory documents, its revenues registered a stellar growth at Rs 758.23 crore during 2015-16 compared to Rs 103.77 crore in the previous fiscal.

Ola, which is the third-most valuable start-up in the country, has been trying to raise fresh capital since June 2016.

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However, Ola suffered a consolidated loss of over Rs 2,311 crore - about Rs 6 crore a day - during that fiscal on account of heavy advertising and promotional expenses and other costs.

Martin Lau, President of Tencent Holdings, said, "Ola's unique local offerings are tailored to India's burgeoning transportation needs".

India's ridesharing leader Ola announced today it has raised $1.1 billion in a round led by Tencent and SoftBank as the company seeks to put more distance between itself and Silicon Valley's Uber. The transportation and mobility industries are seeing huge changes globally. Earlier this year, Uber exited direct operations in Russian Federation.

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The country's growing taxi app market is projected to be worth $7-billion by 2020. By doubling down on penetration, Ola intends to go deeper into the Indian market to serve the vast majority of Indians who are looking for affordable and reliable commute and transportation.

Uber's Indian rival Ola scores $1.1B investment