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Ratan Tata invests in Ola’s electric vehicles arm as part of Series A funding round
Ratan Tata | Photo Credit: Reuters

Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus of Tata Sons, has invested an undisclosed sum in the electric vehicles arm of homegrown ride-hailing firm Ola, the company said in a statement on Monday.

Ola Electric Mobility Pvt. Ltd secured this investment as part of its ongoing Series A funding round.

Tata was an early investor in ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd, the parent arm that runs Ola.

Ola Electric Mobility was set up in April 2018 as an independent entity and as an extension of Ola’s Mission Electric programme.

In March this year, Ola Electric Mobility raised Rs 400 crore ($56 million) from several of Ola’s early investors, including Tiger Global Management and Matrix Partners India.

The company had run a pilot with automobile manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra to test its electric vehicles in Nagpur.

The entity is led by Ola executives Anand Shah and Ankit Jain and primarily deploys charging and battery-swapping networks for the commercial electric vehicles segment. It is also running pilots to test battery charging solutions as well as electric two-wheeler and three-wheeler services.

Ola too has attracted investor attention recently.

In March this year, South Korean automakers Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. invested $300 million (Rs 2,050 crore) in the company. The three companies will collaborate to develop India-specific electric vehicles and infrastructure.

In January, Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal and Steadview Capital separately invested Rs 149.99 crore and Rs 520.79 crore, respectively, in Ola.

Steadview had earlier participated in the firm’s $400 million (approximately Rs 2776.36 crore at current exchange rates) Series E funding round in April 2015.

Ola is believed to be broadening its investor base to reduce its dependence on Japan’s SoftBank Group, which holds the largest stake in the company and also has a significant investment in Uber, Ola’s largest rival.

As part of its competition with its United States-based competitor, Ola has entered three overseas markets--Australia, the UK and New Zealand--over the past year. It has also explored two-wheeler hailing services and delivery platforms, having invested over Rs 700 crore in Bengaluru-based startup Vogo.

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