Uber’s India Rival Raises $1.1 Billion From Tencent, SoftBank

Peoples Digest Online – India’s rival to Uber Technologies Inc. is getting new ammunition for its fight with the global ride-hailing giant.

ANI Technologies Pvt.’s Ola said Wednesday it has raised $1.1 billion in a fundraising round led by Tencent Holdings Ltd. TCEHY 0.27% , the Chinese company’s first investment in the startup. SoftBank GroupCorp. 9984 0.39% of Japan and new, unnamed U.S. investors also participated in the round, Ola said.

The Bangalore-based startup is in advanced talks with additional investors to raise a further $1 billion as part of the round, Ola said in a written statement

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Ola was in talks to raise as much as $2 billion.

Ola, which was founded in 2011, is in a fierce fight with Uber for users in the world’s second-most-populous country. It is a potentially lucrative market where millions of customers are getting online for the first time as inexpensive smartphones and internet connectivity proliferate.

Uber, which entered India two years after Ola, is focusing on emerging markets such as India after its move last year to sell its business in China to homegrown champion Didi Chuxing Technology Co.

Ola operates in 110 Indian cities, while Uber is in 29.

In the statement, Ola said it would use the new cash to build out its supply of vehicles and invest in new technologies.

Ola has “unique local offerings” that are tailored to India’s market, Tencent President Martin Lau said in the statement. Ola offers cars and auto rickshaws, and provides in-car services such as music and video on tablet devices.

Tencent declined to provide additional comment on the investment.

SoftBank in 2014 led a group of investors putting $210 million into Ola, and in April invested roughly $250 million in the company.

The new investment in Ola isn’t a part of SoftBank’s Vision Fund, which it is using to bet on promising startups and emerging technologies, a spokesman for SoftBank said. The spokesman declined to comment further on the investment.

Ola has added Tencent’s general counsel, Brent Irvin, to its board, according to information on the Ministry of Corporate Affairs site. Ola’s board already has directors from investors SoftBank and Tiger Global Management.

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