India online ride-hailing firm Ola is currently in funding talks with South African tech and media group Naspers, Singapore state fund Temasek, and others to raise US$1 billion at a valuation of US$7 billion to US$8 billion, according to LiveMint citing anonymous sources on Monday.
Ola was last in the news one week ago for raising US$50 million from Chinese investors Sailing Capital and China-Eurasian Economic Cooperation Fund with the deal valuing the firm at US$4.3 billion, which is part of the US$1 billion round. Its last massive round was in October 2017 when it secured US$1.1 billion from Softbank and Tencent. Chinese ride-hailing leader Didi Chuxing is also one of its backers.
LiveMint‘s report added that Temasek is in the midst of procuring Ola shares via a secondary deal at US$200 million.
— While Ola has recently expanded and has plans to expand in Australia, the UK and New Zealand — all markets in which it will rival Uber — its primary business is still in India, where it held 56.2% of the market in December 2017, as opposed to Uber with 39.6%. While it might be the market leader now, it still needs a lot of capital to stay ahead in the Indian ride-hailing race.
— Ola has taken more than a calendar year now to raise US$1 billion in capital to fight in a market like India, home to more than 1.3 billion people. A report in May said that Ola has been embroiled in a “boardroom battle” with one of its biggest backers Softbank, as the ride-hailing firm’s CEO Bhavish Aggarwal had reportedly stopped Tiger Global Management from selling its shares in Ola to the Japanese conglomerate.
— In Southeast Asia, ride-hailing firm Grab has been quick to gobble up more funds. Also backed by Softbank, it has already secured more than US$2 billion this year.
Editor: Nadine Freischlad