- Ola Electric — the electric vehicle unit of the Ola ridesharing company — is now reportedly valued at more than $1 billion following a $250 million Series B round from SoftBank
Ola Electric — the India-based electric vehicle unit of the Ola ridesharing company — is now reportedly valued at more than $1 billion after raising $250 million in Series B from SoftBank, according to TechCrunch.
This would make Ola Electric the latest “unicorn” in India — which are private startups that have a valuation of $1 billion or more. According to ET’s sources, SoftBank will end up owning about 22-24% stake in Ola Electric through this round of funding.
Ola Electric’s parent company Ola had become a unicorn back in 2015. And Ola is considered Uber’s largest rival in India.
The Indian government has been heavily focused on electric initiatives. For example, the government is pushing for making all two- and three-wheel vehicles electric by 2025. And the government is also pushing to convert 40% of the fleet to electric by 2026.
Ola Electric had spun out of Ola in March in conjunction with a $56 million round of funding. And that was followed by Hyundai’s $300 million investment in Ola. And Ola Electric is planning to bring 10,000 EVs to the road by the end of the year and also deploy a million similar vehicles in the next few years. Currently, Ola Electric is being led by former BMW executive Anand Shah and Ola’s former Vice President and Head of Ola Play Ankit Jain.
“This investment adds weight to solidify the ecosystem and build the infrastructure that is needed to provide an impetus to an industry that has so far lacked funding,” said EY India partner Ankur Pahwa via Business Standard.
Praxis Global Alliance director Aryaman Tandon pointed out that EVs have a promising opportunity in India. And he said that any market with high density of population, low average road transportation speeds, and availability of affordable electricity is a fundamentally attractive market for EVs.
Here is a tweet that Ola CEO Bhavish Aggarwal published with SoftBank founder and CEO Masayoshi Son:
Celebrating 5 years of strong partnership, looking forward to the years ahead! I’m personally inspired by @masason vision for the future of humanity. Very excited about our partnership to build Mobility & Electric Mobility for India and the world! @SoftBank @Olacabs @OlaElectric pic.twitter.com/JwJDvFKeg4
— Bhavish Aggarwal (@bhash) July 2, 2019
Last month, Ola announced it is setting up a new advanced technology center in San Francisco with more than 150 engineers working there.
Uber is also working on electric vehicle initiatives. For example, Uber partnered with electric bicycle sharing platform Yulu a couple of months ago to set up trials in Bangalore. And Uber ATG spun out of Uber and raised funding as a separate self-driving entity.
“Given the focus on EVs globally and in India, this doesn’t come as a surprise. (Ride-hailing apps) Uber and Didi are doing something similar in their core geographies. The Indian government’s focus, almost a diktat, that ride-sharing should transition to EV to achieve adoption targets is well known and these initiatives are part of it,” added Yugal Joshi — VP of Everest Group in an interview with Quartz.
And Greyhound Research founder Sanchit Vir Gogia told Quartz that the whole EV ecosystem is “nearing a point of inflection.”
“This is a great opportunity for Ola Electric to own the entire platform of e-vehicles—buying, leasing, distributing, servicing and recharging (in India),” explained Ninestars Information Technologies’ chief of staff and head-corporate development Vidhya Shankar Sathyamurthi via Quartz.