Uber’s ride in India could get tougher as China’s Didi Kuaidi joins Ola board
Ola said that it would use the funds raised to further increase its growth in the Indian market 'with a focus on building mobility for a billion people'Reuters

Uber's largest Indian rival, Ola just went through a series F round of funding. It saw participation from many investors including China's leading taxi hiring company, Didi Kuaidi.

Other investors who participated in the $500m fundraising, include Scotland-based investment firm Baillie Gifford, Falcon Edge Capital, Tiger Global, SoftBank Group, and DST Global. Ola said that it would use the funds raised to further increase its growth in the Indian market "with a focus on building mobility for a billion people."

The company which has already acquired its Indian competitor TaxiForSure could further strengthen its Indian market share with Didi Kuaidi on board. Bhavish Aggarwal, co-founder and CEO of Ola, said "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."

He added that apart from bringing in innovations in the personal transport space, his company will also focus on mobile digital payments. It recently launched Ola Money – a mobile digital wallet app that allows users to pay for cabs, recharge their mobiles and shop online.

The Indian taxi aggregator said that it had grown 30 times in the last one year with over a million requests per day through its operations in 102 Indian cities with 350,000 vehicles registered on its platform.

In comparison, Uber India operates in only 22 cities and is targeting a million rides in the country by 2016. However, in July, it was reported that Uber was looking to invest $1bn in India towards improving operations, expanding into new cities and developing new products and payment solutions.

India is an important market with huge potential for the California-headquartered company, whose expansion in the world's other large market, China, has been slowed by local competitor, Didi Kuaidi.

Previous fund raises by Ola

$5m from its series A round in April 2012

$20m from a series B round in November 2013

$41.5m from a series C round in July 2014

$210m from a series D round in October 2014

$400m from a series E round in April 2015

Valuation Game

The current $500m fundraise puts Ola's valuation at $5bn, according to informed sources as reported by Forbes. This is one-tenth of Uber's valuation. Its investor list includes leading VC firms such as Sequoia India, Accel Partners, Matrix Partners and Steadview Capital.

It was reported in August that Uber after raising $1bn in the round backed by software giant Microsoft and Indian conglomerate Bennett, Coleman and Company Limited was valued at $50bn.

SoftBank-backed Didi Kuaidi, which has raised $4.42bn till date, is valued at $15bn — thrice that of Ola's current estimated valuation. It was formed in February 2015 by merging two of the largest taxi-hailing firms in China — Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache.