SoftBank adds new twist to Ola-Uber rivalry

Ola said it was in advanced talks to raise another $1 billion from existing and new investors thus rounding off what may turn out to be a $2 billion funding round

It will also "make significant technology investments into artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities to solve for India's unique mobility problems".

The company is in advanced talks with US -based financial investors for the second tranche, which would also include funds from existing investors, a source close to the company said, declining to be identified as the talks were not yet finalised.

Indian taxi app Ola has described its rival Uber as "despicable" and "low on morality" following a report that claims the American firm badly mishandled the rape of a customer in 2014.

The massive funding comes just months after home-grown e-commerce major Flipkart raised $1.4 billion, the single largest funding round by any Indian internet firm.

"We are thrilled to have Tencent Holdings join us as new partners in our mission to build mobility for a billion Indians", said Ola founder and chief executive Bhavish Aggarwal. The transportation and mobility industries are seeing huge changes globally.

"Ola's unique local offerings are tailored to India's burgeoning transportation needs. We look forward to helping Ola further develop India's transportation solutions", said Martin Lau, president of Tencent.

Ola and Uber now are locked in a dispute over who controls how much of the market.

ANI Technologies, which operates Ola, counts among its investors names like SoftBank Group, Tiger Global, Sequoia India and Accel Partners US.

According to TechCrunch, Ola sees 2 million rides a day and manages 800,000 drivers.

On Wednesday, Ola said it was in advanced talks to raise another $1 billion from existing and new investors, thus rounding off what may turn out to be a $2 billion funding round. Notably, this is the biggest funding round for Ola so far, which has been in work for about a year. The ride-hailing company is also spending heavily on a program to buy vehicles and lease them to drivers, and it is experimenting with electric cars in some cities.

Domestic taxi operator Meru Cabs today said it has filed complaints with competition watchdog CCI against taxi aggregators Ola and Uber for allegedly abusing market dominance in four cities.

It now operates in 100 Indian cities and said it planned to use the funds for further expansion.

Related News: