As things were getting clearer in recent times that the US-based taxi-hailing aggregator Uber would go for a major expansion drive to capture the Indian market, the home-grown arch rival Ola also didn’t lag behind.
The Bengaluru-headquartered may soon start a fresh round of fund-raising exercise, and could raise around $500 million from its existing investor SoftBank, a Times of India report said. Besides the Japanese company, Ola may also hold discussions with other investors for its possible fund-raising exercise.
Both Ola’s co-founder and CEO Bhavish Aggarwal and SoftBank refrained from commenting on the likely fund raising talks, the ToI report added.
Ola also recently held talks with automobile major General Motors for a likely fund raising, but to no avail, the ToI report said.
Compared to a $69 billion valuation commanded by Uber, Ola’s valuation currently stands at just $5 billion when it last raised $500 million from Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC, Didi Chuxing and Scottish investment fund Baillie Gifford.
The decision to raise funds by Ola comes at a time when the US rival is flush with capital following its exit from China where it sold its business to its competitor Didi Chuxing.
In China, Uber couldn’t stand up to the growing onslaught from the deep-pocketed Didi, prompting the former to eventually merge its business in the Dragon nation. With Uber exiting China, the company has got enough room now to focus on India.
A recent Bloomberg report quoting a Uber official said, “India will be crucial in terms of both demonstrating success in large international markets and long-term growth potential”.
Backed by venture capitalist, Ola has a war-chest of $1.2 billion, while Uber will divert a big portion of $10 billion it raised from Didi into the Indian market.
However, Ola recently said it has over 70 percent market share of the country’s taxi app market with an average of 1 million rides per day.
Uber, too, claims that it has been fast expanding in India having presence in 28 cities and handled 5.5 million rides per week in August, the Bloomberg report added.
It is indeed interesting times ahead in the Indian taxi-hailing market.