Uber’s ride in India could get bumpier as China’s Didi Kuaidi jumps on board Ola

On a roll.
On a roll.
Image: Reuters/Shailesh Andrade
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Uber’s biggest rival in India, Ola, has raised $500 million (Rs3,306 crore) in a series F funding round from a clutch of investors including Didi Kuaidi, China’s leading taxi-hailing company.

Other investors who participated in this round include Scotland-based investment firm Baillie Gifford, Falcon Edge Capital, Tiger Global, SoftBank Group, and DST Global. ”Ola will use these funds to further accelerate its growth in the Indian market with a focus on building mobility for a billion people,” the company said in a press release.

With Didi Kuaidi on board, Ola may now be able to further strengthen its position in the Indian market—where it has already acquired competitor TaxiForSure and competes fiercely with California-headquartered Uber. ”As we pursue our mission to build mobility for a billion people, we are excited about bringing onboard partners who can help us get there faster,” Bhavish Aggarwal, co-founder and CEO of Ola, said in the release.

The development is another validation of consolidation of Uber’s competition in Asia.

Uber, which commands the highest valuation in the transportation technology space at $50 billion, has been facing a tough competition in Asia. Quartz has earlier reported that a group of investors are funding Uber’s biggest competitors in Asia—Ola, Didi Kuaidi, and Kuala Lumpur-based GrabTaxi—and these companies may cooperate to challenge the rise of Uber in the region.

Didi Kuaidi was formed in February 2015 after the merger of two of the largest taxi-hailing firms in China—Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache. The company is valued at $15 billion—twice that of Ola’s current estimated valuation of $5 billion. SoftBank-backed Didi Kuaidi has raised a total of $4.42 billion in funding so far.

Over the last year, Ola has grown 30 times and now registers over a million booking requests a day. The company has a presence across 102 Indian cities and over 350,000 vehicles linked to its platform. Including this round, Ola has raised a total of $1.3 billion—of which $1.2 billion has come in over the last year.

Here is a breakup of Ola’s institutional funding rounds based on details from the company and CrunchBase: