Olacabs raises over $41M in Series C funding from Steadview, Sequoia & others

Mumbai-based ANI Technologies Pvt Ltd, which runs an online marketplace for cabs and car rental services under the brand Olacabs, has raised Rs 250 crore ($41.8 million) in its Series C round of funding led by Hong Kong-based equity hedge fund Steadview Capital and Silicon Valley-based Sequoia Capital. Existing investors Matrix Partners India and Tiger Global Management have also participated in this round.

The funds will be used to expand their operations to newer markets. A sizeable sum will also be invested into the supply ecosystem to nurture micro-entrepreneurship in the driver stakeholder segment.

“Building a high quality transportation network in India involves substantial effort and investment. We intend to be present in at least 20 cities by the end of this year. We are also deeply involved with the supply ecosystem by helping drivers become entrepreneurs. We are earmarking a sum of Rs 100 crore towards nurturing this ecosystem in the next one year,” said Bhavish Aggarwal, co-founder and CEO of Olacabs.

"The need for quick and efficient point-to-point transport is a very large need in urban India. Ola is the leader in addressing this need via technology, benefiting both consumers and drivers. We think highly of the founders and the team at Ola and look forward to partnering with them," added Gautam Mago, principal, Sequoia Capital India Advisors.

Olacabs was founded in January 2011 by IIT Bombay alumni Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati. Prior to Olacabs, Aggarwal was working as assistant researcher at Microsoft Research, India, while Bhati was working as system administrator at Wilcom. The services provided by Olacabs include point-to-point services within the city, hour-based rental services and bookings for outstation travel.

Through its mobile app (available on the iOS, Android and Windows platforms), customers can book cabs and track their ride while cab drivers get booking requests on a GPS enabled Android device that also helps in navigation and billing. According to the company, over 50 per cent of its bookings are coming through the mobile apps. Ola also works with leading car manufacturers and financial institutions to help drivers buy their own cars at discounts and access to affordable repayment schemes.

As of now, Olacabs has a network of over 11,000 cabs on their platform and is present across nine cities—Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi-NCR, Chennai, Goa, Pune, Jaipur, Hyderabad and Chandigarh.

“Ola is solving a real problem by providing Indian consumers a safe, comfortable, and standardised service offering at transparent and competitive prices. At the same time, it is serving cab drivers and operators by helping them buy their own cars and improving business for them, thereby nurturing micro-entrepreneurship,” said Avnish Bajaj, co-founder and MD, Matrix India.

In November last year, Olacabs had raised Series B round of funding led by Matrix Partners India for a big minority stake, with participation from existing investor Tiger Global Management. Although the company had not disclosed the amount at the time, media reports pegged it at $20 million. Prior to that, it had raised Rs 19.2 crore ($3.2 million) from existing investor Tiger Global in July the same year.

Back in 2012, the company had raised over $5 million in its Series A funding from Tiger Global. Prior to that, it had raised angel funding from a bunch of individual investors, including Rehan Yar Khan and Anupam Mittal.

Investments in the space

Last month, global online luxury car hire service Uber Technologies Inc, which has operations in more than 120 cities across the globe, including Bangalore, New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and Pune in India, had closed $1.2 billion in fresh funding from institutional investors, mutual funds, private equity and VC investors at $17 billion pre-money valuation.

Bangalore-based Serendipity Infolabs Pvt Ltd, the company behind the online taxi booking platform TaxiForSure.com, had also secured $10 million in a Series B round of funding, led by Bessemer Venture Partners. Existing investors Accel Partners, Helion Venture Partners and Blume Ventures also participated in the round.

Other players in the space include taxiGUIDE; Clear Car Rental; Inventus and Intel Capital-backed Savaari Car Rentals; WestBridge-backed CarzOnRent and offline services like Meru Cabs, among others.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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