Ola raises $1.1b to take on Uber

Ola raises $1.1b to take on Uber

Uber and Ola have been locked in a battle for India's ride-hailing market for several years, one that Ola has been winning thus far.

In addition, the company said it was in talks with other investors that it hopes will lead to an additional $1 billion of capital.

Once the second tranche is complete Ola would have raised over $2 billion.

Ola, which is based in Bangalore, in southern India, said it planned to use the new funds to invest in artificial intelligence and machine learning to tackle projects such as predicting where and when a regular customer might need a vehicle. The Indian firm now has operations in 110 Indian cities, compared to Uber's 29 cities. Ola is in more Indian cities than Uber is, but it is unavailable outside of India. To improve the company's culture, the board of Uber named former Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi as the new CEO, replacing the company's co-founder Travis Kalanick. The company has also been having its own power struggles in the boardroom.

While ANI Technologies is not a publicly-traded company, according to regulatory documents, its revenues registered a stellar growth at Rs 758.23 crore during 2015-16 compared to Rs 103.77 crore in the previous fiscal.

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After a funds-parched 2016, India's new-age tech companies seem to have hit the gas again this year. "In the long term, Ola will invest in technology, new products to outpace and stay ahead of competition". It also has a stake in Chinese firm Mobike, which offers bikes for rent via a mobile app.

The antitrust cases in India, nevertheless, are set to further intensify the showdown between ride-hailing firms and local players in India's $12 billion taxi market. It recently invested in Grab, Uber's rival in Singapore, and has a stake in Didi Chuxing in China.

Ola says it will use the funding to expand the number of drivers it uses and deepen its presence in India's ride-hailing market, which is reportedly worth $12bn.

"As the transportation and mobility sectors are undergoing changes globally, we want to build a competitive system to support a nation on the move", noted Aggarwal.

"We are thrilled to have Tencent Holdings join us as new partners in our mission to build mobility for a billion Indians".

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