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Scooter rental startup Vogo gets funding from Ola, others

Scooter rental startup Vogo gets funding from Ola, others

The parent of online scooter rental platform Vogo has raised $7 million (Rs 45.5 crore) in funding led by homegrown ride-hailing major Ola.

According to a report in The Economic Times, venture capital firms Stellaris Venture Partners and Matrix Partners also contributed to the investment in Bengaluru-based Vogo Automotive Pvt. Ltd.

An Ola spokesperson declined to comment when approached by TechCircle.

Separate email queries sent to Vogo, Matrix and Stellaris did not elicit a response till the time of publishing this report.

Vogo Automotive was set up in 2016 by Anand Ayyadurai, Padmanabhan Balakrishnan and Sanchit Mittal.
Ayyadurai and Balakrishnan had earlier worked at Flipkart.

The company claims to have launched the country's first automated pickup-and-drop scooter rental plaform. Vogo remotely tracks and monitors scooters in real-time, which in theory makes the vehicles Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

Vogo is currently operational in Mysuru, Manipal, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.

The startup had last September raised an undisclosed amount in a seed round.

The funding was led by AV Thomas Group chairman Ajit Thomas, Thiagarajar Mills executive director Hari Thiagarajan, and EID Parry's business head for nutraceuticals, Muthu Murugappan.

Ayyadurai had said at the time that 15,000 students were using Vogo.

Other two-wheeler rental startups have raised fresh capital in recent months.

In February, the family investment office of Sutures India chairman Chandrasekhar Gopalan invested $1.5 million (Rs 10 crore) in Bengaluru-headquartered online premium bike rental platform WickedRide.

A little before that, Bengaluru-based self-riding bike rental company Ontrack raised an undisclosed amount of seed investment from Diverse Middle East FZE, a Dubai-based family office, and others.

Last November, Mumbai-based Motocruizer Technologies India Pvt. Ltd, which operates self-riding bike rental platform ONN Bikes, had raised Rs 4.5 crore ($692,000) in a pre-Series A round led by existing investor Z Nation Lab.

Ola's diversification
Operated by ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd, Ola has been testing several initiatives to cover a wide spectrum of transportation services in India.

The company runs a a two-wheeler service under Ola Bike, a three-wheeler service under Ola Auto and taxi cab service where it offers on-demand short distance conveyance in hatchback, sedan and luxury cars, outstation trips and rental.

The homegrown unicorn is also piloting bicycle sharing services known as Ola Cycle Pool Services or Ola Pedal.

However, it abruptly decided to shut its bus shuttle service in February.

Earlier this week, Ola announced Mission Electric, a programme to launch 10,000 electric vehicles, most of them three-wheelers, over the next 12 months.

In January, Ola made its first overseas move by launching its services in Australia.

Backed by investment giants such as SoftBank, Tiger Global and Tencent and others, Ola raised $1.1 billion from investors late last year and is on course to raise a further $1 billion.

Around the same time, Ola acquired Foodpanda India and committed to invest $200 million in the food-ordering business.

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