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Ola reportedly in talks with SoftBank, other to add a fresh $500 million to its coffers

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We cannot stress over this fact enough but the competition among ride-hailing giants in India is intensifying with each passing day. American giant Uber and local rival Ola are neck to neck when you come to compare total daily rides completed by each player. Thus, in a bid to maintain its lead, Ola is now looking for an inflow of fresh funds somewhere in the ballpark of $500 million, reports TOI. There is currently no word on the valuation of this round.

Bengaluru-based Ola is currently in talks with one of its most prominent investors Softbank to lead a fresh round of funding and help the company take the fight back to Uber. The funding round is also expected to be see participation of other existing backers as well. SoftBank has recently aided Southeast Asian Uber rival ‘Grab’ and topped up its bank balance with $750 million at a significant $3 billion valuation.

Ever since the exit of former president Nikesh Arora, SoftBank has been on the backfoot and not pushed any fresh investments in India for the past three or four months. But, it now seems that the dark thunder clouds have passed and the Japanese behemoth is ready to re-enter the market with a massive bang(truly massive!).

SoftBank is currently contemplating investments into two tech unicorns of the country — Ola and Freecharge. If any of these transaction goes through, it would be one of the largest investments by the Japanese giant in India since the exit of Arora.

Even after Nikesh’s departure, Masa is very bullish on Ola and is ready to lead the round. But the deal contours are not final as yet. SoftBank is very keen on backing Ola but there are chances of a new investor coming in as well.

says a source privy to the developments.

In a struggle to raise new capital, Ola has recently also held preliminary discussions with automobile manufacturing giant General Motors, reports TOI. General Motors(GM) is recognized as one of the primary investors in Uber’s American arch-enemy Lyft. Ola co-founder and CEO Bhavish Aggarwal met with GM’s CEO Mary Barra during his visit to San Francisco a few months ago, but the talks are not expected to bear any fruits for the Indian ride-hailing giant.

Though these are mere speculations, but sources close to the matter say that Ola might also plan to launch a formal fund-raising process to rope in external investors to lead this funding round. The company is in dire need of money in the current funding scenario, where most startups have consolidated to cut back on operation costs and reduce burn rates. Ola, on the other hand, is only aiming for growth and has recently also introduced a new set of technology solutions to make navigation and pickup/drop easier for both customers and drivers alike.

Ever since Uber’s exit from Chinese market, the company has not only been doubling down its focus on expansion but also towards investing funds to fuel the required growth. The company is also looking to expand its scope beyond cab aggregation, bike taxi services, and introduce van and mini-van booking services on its platform. These service will be launched under the global initiative, Uber Everything, of using any transportation vehicle that can commute from Point A to Point B. It has not only planned an expansion of its center of excellence, but is also ready to pump Rs. 13,000 to lease 200k new cars for its aprtnr driver programme.

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