As Uber reels under crises, Ola in talks with Tencent to raise $400 mn

Ola is shoring up on investments as it dabbles with the idea of using electric cars as cabs

Indian Companies News : India’s largest taxi aggregator Ola is in talks to raise $400 million in fresh funding from Chinese Internet behemoth Tencent as it looks to quickly expand its service in the country at a time when its global rival Uber is reeling under multiple crises.

Ola is shoring up on investments as it dabbles with the idea of using electric cars as cabs and is increasingly relying on its in-house leasing unit to grow the base of partners on its platform. The company has raised close to $400 million in funding since November when Softbank led a $230 million investment in the company at a $3.5 billion valuation.

ALSO READ: Mr Gadkari, allowing driverless cars will generate more high-paying jobs

Sources told Business Standard that Ola was indeed in talks with Tencent but nothing had been finalised just yet. The Times of India and Economic Times newspapers first reported about the two parties being in talks on Thursday, citing sources that said the round would push Ola’s valuation to over $4 billion.

Globally, Tencent is part of the anti-Uber cartel through its backing of rivals such as Didi Chuxing in China, Lyft in the US, and Go-Jek in South East Asia. The company, in many cases, has invested alongside rival Alibaba and its close ally Softbank, which incidentally is the largest investor in Ola today.

At a time when Softbank is rumoured to be in talks to pick up a small but significant share in Uber, which is valued at $69 billion, it might make sense for Ola to bring in other strong investors. Ola is Softbank’s second-largest bet in India after e-commerce firm Snapdeal, which the Japanese investor is now pushing to sell to its rival Flipkart for a song.

ALSO READ: Snapdeal to seek shareholders view before giving final nod to Flipkart

Tata’s JLR invests in Uber rival Lyft for driverless cars

InMotion’s investment in Lyft makes India’s Tata Group an indirect shareholder

Company News :Tata Motors-owned British luxury carmakr Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has invested $25 million in US ride-hailing company Lyft as part of a partnership that includes development and testing of autonomous cars.

The investment in Uber‘s chief rival Lyft was done through InMotion Ventures, the venture capital arm of JLR. This was part of the $600-million funding round the ride-hailing firm closed in April at a valuation of $7.5 billion.

In a statement, InMotion said that the innovation would help Lyft expand by supplying its drivers with fleets of Jaguar and Land Rover cars. However, more importantly, it said that the partnership would be used to further its research and development in mobility services, including autonomous cars.

“Personal mobility and smart transportation is evolving. This new collaborative venture will provide a real-world platform, helping us develop our connected and autonomous services,” VentureBeat quoted Sebastian Peck, Managing Director at InMotion.

In May, Lyft announced its partnership with Google’s self-driving vehicle spinoff, Waymo to work on developing new autonomous car technologies. The company’s focus on autonomous cars comes at a time when its rival Uber is in the midst of a crisis that could see founder Travis Kalanick taking leave, temporarily.

One of Uber’s biggest headaches right now is a lawsuit filed by Waymo, accusing Anthony Levandowski- a former Waymo employee who founded self-driving truck start-up Otto – of stealing its IP(Internet Protocol). Otto was bought out by Uber in August last year and while the company fired Levandowski recently, it is still being investigated for fraud.