Uber's Indian rival Ola raises $1.1bn investment to deepen market presence

It's official: Ola has bagged $1 billion in funding and is eyeing yet another billion

Ola plans to pour the money into new technologies including artificial intelligence and machine learning, an area with which Tencent is all too familiar.

Ola said it was in advanced talks to raise another $1 billion from existing and new investors, thus rounding off what may turn out to be a $2 billion funding round.

Timing of the deal could work in Ola's favor given the troubles at Uber.

Ola, however, did not disclose the time period when the funding was raised or the timeline for the closure of the total $2 billion round.

"We are thrilled to have Tencent Holdings join us as new partners in our mission to build mobility for a billion Indians", said Ola founder and chief executive Bhavish Aggarwal.

The fresh funding will be used to make investments in supply, technology and cutting-edge innovations that will take the company closer to its vision of providing mobility to a billion people.

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"Ola's unique local offerings are tailored to India's burgeoning transportation needs".

Ola and Uber now are locked in a dispute over who controls how much of the market.

According to the reports that surfaced last week, among the other backers in Ola's financing round was a VC fund jointly run by the University of California's investment arm, Ratan Tata and a number of US-based institutional investors. "Our new partners share our passion for building the future of transportation in India together and we look forward to learn and benefit from their global perspectives and ecosystems". Flipkart is now the world's third-most funded private company.

Ola today announced raising United States dollars 1.1 billion in a new round of funding from Chinas Tencent Holdings Ltd and SoftBank Group. The ride-hailing company is also spending heavily on a program to buy vehicles and lease them to drivers, and it is experimenting with electric cars in some cities.

Indian taxi company Meru Cabs has stepped up its legal challenge against local competitor Ola and USA rival Uber, alleging the firms are abusing their market position, and believes that planned investments in both by Japan's SoftBank underscore its view.

Founded by Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati in January 2011, Ola is now present in 110 cities across the country.

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