Ola may raise $100 mn from Ratan Tata’s RNT Capital, Falcon Edge

Bangalore-based ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which runs cab-hailing app Ola, is in talks to raise fresh funding of Rs 650 crore (about $100 million) led by RNT Capital Advisers, a venture investment platform floated by Tata Sons chairman emeritus Ratan Tata.

Existing investor Falcon Edge Capital will also invest in the round, a financial daily reported on Monday.

RNT Capital will most likely make the investment from UC-RNT Fund, a joint venture between Tata and University of California Investments. The fund made its first investment in digital media company YourStory in February.

Tata had invested an undisclosed amount in Ola in 2015 in his personal capacity.

If the deal goes through, The Economic Times report added, Ola’s valuation will rise to $3.5 billion from $3 billion last year. That could be good news for the taxi-hailing company which saw a down round last year.

An email sent to an Ola spokesperson didn’t elicit a response till the publishing of this report.

Of late, things have been rather rocky at Ola and its US-based rival Uber as they face a serious backlash from their driver-partners. The drivers have been going on strike in different cities across India, protesting against falling incentives and dwindling incomes.

In February, there were media reports that Ola had raised $330 million in a funding round led by Japan’s SoftBank.

In October last year, The Times of India had reported that Ola had held talks with SoftBank and US-based automobile giant General Motors to raise $500 million.

Founded by Indian entrepreneurs Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati in 2010, Ola has so far raised close to $1.3 billion from marquee investors such as Tiger Global Management and Matrix Partners, and is locked in an intense battle with global rival Uber Technologies Inc. Both the companies are burning a huge amount of cash to woo customers and need to refill their coffers constantly.

Valued at $5 billion, Ola posted a seven-fold rise in revenue from operations to $57.6 million (Rs 380.2 crore) for the year ended March 2015 from $7.5 million (Rs 49.6 crore) in FY14. But total expenditure rose 14 times to $177.7 million (Rs 1,173 crore), largely due to a 19-fold jump in the company’s fleet operator costs to $137.1 million (Rs 905 crore). This widened its net loss to $114.4 million (Rs 754.8 crore) from $5.2 million (Rs 34.2 crore) in the previous year.

It secured $500 million in a Series F round from Scottish investment firm Baillie Gifford and China’s Didi Kuaidi. Falcon Edge Capital, Tiger Global, SoftBank, and DST Global also participated in the round.

In April 2015, Ola raised $400 million in a Series E round led by DST Global. In October 2014, it mobilised $210 million from investors led by SoftBank as part of its Series D round.

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