Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal has invested Rs 650 crore in ride-haling firm Ola, making it the largest investment by an individual in Ola till date. The investment is part of Ola’s larger Series J funding round, the firm said in a statement on Tuesday.
The funding will provide more power to Ola to compete with rival Uber and also reduce its dependence on another investor, SoftBank, which is the largest shareholder in the firm. Reportedly, SoftBank has offered to invest more in Ola and increase its stake. It is not clear whether Ola founder Bhavish Aggarwal will take more funds from.
In January this year, Bansal had invested `150 crore in Ola. The investment had valued the business at close to $5.5-6 billion, according to industry watchers.
Industry sources said Bansal is expected to invest more in Ola in subsequent rounds but would not take an advisory or a day-to-day role in the organisation.
The statement quoted Bansal as saying that while Ola has emerged as a global force in the mobility space, it continues to build deeper for various needs of a billion Indians through their platform. “I have known Bhavish as an entrepreneur and as a friend over these years and I have great respect for what he and the team at Ola have built in just 8 years! I am personally thrilled to be part of the Ola journey and I look forward to contributing to their success,” he said.
Earlier, ANI Technologies, which operates Ola, had raised $74 million from Hong Kong-based Steadview Capital.
Bansal, who had sold his 5.5% stake in Flipkart to Walmart last year for an estimated $800 million-$1 billion, is believed to be setting up his own fund worth $1 billion, according to media reports.
In December, Bansal had registered his holding company BAC Acquisitions, which he is likely to be used for making investments and starting new businesses. Former investment banker Ankit Agarwal is also a director of the firm.
Earlier, Ola had raised $1.1 billion from Tencent Holdings and existing investor Japan’s Softbank.
Ola is on an expansion spree in the overseas market. After having launched its services in Australia in February 2018 and the UK in August 2018, the ride-sharing platform has entered New Zealand. In Australia, it operates in seven major cities and has over 50,000 registered drivers. It serves 125 million users in India, Australia and the UK.