Exclusive: Ola confirms funding of $1.1B led by Tencent and Softbank


Putting all speculation to rest, Ola confirmed to YourStory that it has raised funding of $1.1 billion led by Tencent Holdings Limited.

Ola’s existing investor SoftBank, in addition to other new US-based financial investors have also participated in this round. Tencent Holdings Limited, a leading Internet company in China, will bring significant expertise to Ola as it furthers its leadership position across the mobility market in India.

The Bengaluru-based ride-sharing app’s spokesperson told YourStory that it is also in advanced talks with other investors to close an additional $1 billion as part of the current financing round, that will add up to a total of over $2 billion.

Ola founders Ankit Bhati with Bhavish Aggarwal.

The spokesperson also shared a press note that quotes Bhavish Aggarwal, Co-founder and CEO of Ola, as saying,

“The transportation and mobility industries are seeing huge changes globally. Our ambition is to build a globally competitive and futuristic transportation system in India that will support and accelerate a nation on the move.”

He further added, “Our new partners share our passion for building the future of transportation in India together and we look forward to learn and benefit from their global perspectives and ecosystems.”

With this latest round of funding, Ola adds that they will be making strategic investments in supply, technology, and innovations to help build the transportation and mobility needs of India. The company will make significant technology investments in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) capabilities to solve for India’s unique mobility problems.

The funding journey of Ola

Ola intends to go deeper into the Indian market to serve the vast majority of Indians who are looking for affordable and reliable commute and transportation. In the Press note shared with YourStory, Martin Lau, President Tencent Holdings, said,

 “Ola’s unique local offerings are tailored to India’s burgeoning transportation needs. The strategic partnership with Ola makes it possible for Tencent to be part of the fast-growing ride-hailing space in the country. We look forward to helping Ola further develop India’s transportation solutions.”

In this year, apart from this fundraise, Ola also ventured into the e-vehicle space in Nagpur. Earlier last year, it also partnered with Mahindra and has taken several initiatives to help driver partners.

However, earlier this year both Ola and Uber had faced significant challenges in Bengaluru and Delhi, where the driver partners protested against the drop in incentives.

Over the past two years, apart from fighting regulations and ensuring that they are sharing-economy friendly, Ola has also been in a tough battle against Uber. This fundraise will help Ola fight the battle it has against the San Francisco-based cab aggregator. Ola has also significantly upped its game by launching Ola Play, and is working towards driver training and customer experience, to ensure it puts up a tough fight against Uber.