China’s bike-sharing startup Hellobike announced it has closed a Series D2 funding round worth $152.5 million (¥1 billion). The round was led by Fosun and joined by institutions including GGV Capital.
On December 4th, the bike-sharing startup has just landed a $350 million investment through a Series D1 round led by Alibaba’s affiliate Ant Financial.
Apart from Ant Financial, Fosun and GGV Capital, Hellobike’s existing investors also include EV maker WM Motor and Chengwei Capital.
This is the second funding round after its merger with Shanghai Stock Exchange-listed bike rental firm Youon Bike in October, allowing the company to compete with industry top players ofo and Mobike.
Founded in September 2016, Hellobike is now the third largest bike-sharing firm by MAU, having 1.7 million MAU untill September 2017, although still left far behind ofo’s 18.6 million MAU and Mobike’s 18.4 million, according to trustdata.
The startup now operates in more than 150 cities, serving 88 million users and generating 10 million rides every day.
Unlike Mobike and ofo, Hellobike firstly forayed into second-tier and third-tier cities where the bike-sharing market is less contested.
Its successful funding comes despite signs that the bike-sharing bubble is about to deflate, as two players Xiaoming Bike and Blugogo went bankrupt this year.
Interest in the bike-sharing startups remains mostly because they can potentially become major gateways for offline traffic. That is why both Alibaba and Tencent are counting on these portals to popularize their respective payment and crediting systems.
More or less, Bike-sharing startups are increasingly becoming pawns in the game.
Pony Ma, Tencent founder and CEO said the bike-sharing business has been leveraged to popularize mobile payment, following Alibaba’s investment in Hellobike’s Series D1 round.
The recent evidence would be the newly reached partnership between Hellobike and Alibaba’s credit scoring system Sesame Credit. In November, the two teamed up to push for the deposit-free bike-sharing service.
In the current bike-sharing arena in China, top three players are all backed by tech behemoths, as ofo and Hellobike is backed by Alibaba and Tencent is behind Mobike.
The battle among bike-sharing startups and tech giants behind them is likely to go on for a while.
Read more about how the bike-sharing battle escalates in China.