Chinese dockless bike-sharing unicorn ofo has raised fresh funding of $866 million in a round led by Alibaba Group. The round also saw participation from Ant Financial, Haofeng Group, Junli Capital and Tianhe Capital. This is believed to be one of the largest fundraises by a bike-sharing company. It is a combination of debt and equity financing.
Dai Wei, founder and CEO of ofo, said in a press release, “As the global leader in the bike-sharing sector, ofo has been transitioning from a phase of rapid growth to a stage of high-quality development. Ofo will continue to put our customers first and lead the bike-sharing industry with technological innovation and efficient operations.”
Last year, ofo had raised a Series-E round of $700 million led by Alibaba Group. It is one of the biggest dockless bike-sharing platforms across the globe. The company has operations across 21 countries and 250 cities. Ofo claims to have 200 million global users with more than six billion green rides, totaling 32 million rides per day.
Last year, ofo entered the US with 1,000 bicycles in Seattle. New York’s Citi Bike, with 10,000 bikes and 236,000 subscribers, is the largest players in the US. Beijing has 700,000 shared bikes, and 11 million registered users, nearly half the capital’s population.
Its largest competitor, Mobike, had also raised $600 million funding in a round led by Tencent last year.
Both Mobike and ofo are unicorns in the space and hold over 90 percent of bike-sharing market in China.
In the past few months, ofo has made its presence strongly felt in India. It has already tied up with several State governments and is looking at the market closely.
“Our station-free, bike-sharing concept has improved the transportation in cities across the world. Our mission is to solve the last-mile transportation problem in India’s urban areas, and we see immense potential in Pune for ofo’s convenient, affordable and low carbon way of travel,” says Rajarshi Sahai, Director of Public Policy and Communications at ofo.
From April to June 2017, users worldwide accumulated a riding distance of over 1.2 billion km, reducing 84 million litre of fuel consumption, and 265,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
Bike-sharing seems to be the next big thing in India. Ola announced the launch of Ola Pedal, its cycle-sharing option, currently in the pilot stage at the IIT Kanpur campus. Last month, Zoomcar launched PEDL, its cycle-sharing vertical in Bengaluru’s HSR Layout, and the company is looking to expand this across the city, and the country.
YoBykes has also launched its operations in Magarpatta city in Pune. Amit Gupta, Co-Founder of InMobi, last month launched Yulu, a bike-sharing platform. Mobycy also launched a dockless bike-sharing platform and raised a $500,000 seed funding. A few weeks ago, Wheelstreet launched its dockless bike-sharing platform.
Apart from this, in September 2016, Chartered Speed, an Ahmedabad-based transport company, is believed to have entered into a partnership with Nextbike, a Germany-based bike-sharing startup, and is set to launch a digital bicycle sharing platform across 100 cities.
The year 2018 might just be the year of bike-sharing: Pune, for example, is among several cities where civic authorities and governments look to promote bike sharing, 3