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Ola Raises $400 Million in Funding, Aims to Expand to 200 Cities This Year

Ola Raises $400 Million in Funding, Aims to Expand to 200 Cities This Year
India's biggest online cab-hailing service Ola has raised $400 million from investors led by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner's DST Global, the company said on Thursday.

The company had reported $314 million (roughly Rs. 1,958 crores) of this investing round in a filing to the Registrar of Companies earlier in the month. Other participating investors in the Series E round of funding included GIC, Falcon Edge Capital and existing investors SoftBank Group, Tiger Global, Steadview Capital and Accel Partners US.

Of the overall $400 million (roughly Rs. 2,495 crores) announced, $100 million (roughly Rs. 623 crores) would go towards expansion and growth of its TaxiForSure arm, Ola said in a statement. The company bought rival TaxiForSure for $200 million in March as it competes with its domestic rivals and the emerging challenge of fast-growing United States-based rival Uber.

The money will also go towards expansion of its Ola brand as it plans to nearly double its footprint to 200 cities by the end of the year, the company said. Ola added it has expanded to 100 cities in the current year from 10 cities a year ago, with the acquisition of TaxiForSure also helping augment its scope.

The company statement added the "additional investment will allow Ola to go deeper into smaller cities to build personal transportation ground-up. Ola has already seen tremendous growth in tier 2 & 3 cities owing to very limited transportation options that currently exist. There is a large opportunity waiting to be unlocked, to transform the ecosystem from within. Ola will help drivers from these small towns turn entrepreneurs, creating lasting social and economic impact for them, while a robust transportation utility is created for the citizens."

Bhavish Aggarwal, Co-founder & CEO, Ola said, "DST Global, GIC and Falcon Edge have been partners in some of the leading Internet success stories globally and we are excited about having them onboard. Our vision is that people shouldn't find the need to own a car. And we have been able to make this possible for millions of customers in the past four years and creating over a hundred thousand driver entrepreneurs on the platform. With increasing smartphone penetration and immense growth in smaller cities and towns, we will be able to drive the benefits of this on-demand platform deeper into the lives of our customers and partners."

Ola said it had raised earlier rounds of funding from Tiger Global, Matrix Partners India, Steadview Capital and Sequoia Capital. SoftBank Group led the most recent Series D round of $210 million.

Written with inputs from Reuters


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