Tech-enabled scooter sharing platform, Vogo Automotive is reportedly in talks with country’s cab-hailing major Ola along with Stellaris Ventures Partners and Matrix Partners to raise about Rs 40-45 crore in a fresh round of funding.
If the deal fructifies, this will be the second round for the Bengaluru-based scooter rental startup, which raised seed funding in September, last year, led by the family members of the Murugappa, A V Thomas, and Thiagaraja Groups.
According to a Mint report, citing sources, Ola will lead the round, followed by Stellaris and Matrix.
This will be the second deal for the SoftBank-backed company as an investor this year. Earlier it had acquired end-to-end public transport-focused app Ridlr in an all-stock deal. Besides, it is also in talks to acquire FreshMenu–a full stack food tech startup.
Launched in 2016 by Anand Ayyadurai, Padmanabhan Balakrishnan, and Sanchit Mittal, VOGO is building a scooter sharing network that would enable urban commuters to rent scooters for short-haul and offer a quick and cost-effective alternative to cabs and autos. Currently, it operates in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Manipal, and Mysore.
Ola love for two-wheeler is not new. The Bengaluru-headquartered firm already runs it on-demand bike taxi service that competes with rival Uber which is doing good business in the country via UberMOTO. The addition of scooter sharing platform in its portfolio will indeed add more fireworks against the San Fransico based ride-hailing major.
In December, Ola started testing a bicycle sharing service in IIT Kanpur campus called Ola Pedal. The company also hinted to expand the bicycle sharing model, which is going to see competition from the foreign players like Ofo and Mobike and incumbents like Zoomcar’s PEDL, Yulu, to name a few.
Besides, Bhavish Aggarwal and his team are seeing great value in following Go-Jek model. The Indonesian unicorn started with ride-hailing service, but in 2015 it forayed into food delivery space. Currently, it does more orders than Swiggy, Zomato and Foodpanda collectively.
The acquisition of Foodpanda by Ola in December last year also proved its supremacy on Indian turf.
The bike-sharing segment has been growing day by day and investors also see a huge potential in the space, which is a good sign for a player like Vogo. It will be interesting to see how Ola leverage the startup in future to combat against its rival in two-wheeler sharing model.