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Ola to invest $100 mn in Vogo, add scooter fleet to app

Ola to invest $100 mn in Vogo, add scooter fleet to app
Photo Credit: VCCircle

Ride-hailing unicorn Ola announced on Tuesday that it will invest $100 million (around Rs 720 crore) in scooter-sharing firm Vogo in a move aimed at diversifying its offerings.

"Our investment in Vogo will help build a smart multi-modal network for first-last mile connectivity in the country," Ola co-founder and chief executive officer Bhavish Aggarwal said in a statement.

Vogo’s fleet of two-wheelers will soon be available for Ola’s 150-million plus customer base, the statement added.

Vogo, which provides services in the southern Indian cities of Bengaluru and Hyderabad, said it will use the money to expand its fleet by 100,000 scooters. It did not disclose the number of existing vehicles on the platform but said that more than 100,000 users have commuted more than 20 million kilometres using its two-wheelers.

In April this year, Ola had invested in Vogo as part of the company’s Series A funding round in which Matrix Partners India and Stellaris Venture Partners also participated.

A person familiar with the development told TechCircle that the latest investment was not part of Vogo's Series A round.

“This is a strategic equity investment by Ola which would be rolled out in tranches and is focused only on ramping up supply," the person added. "Ola sees this sector growing."

Vogo Automotive was set up in 2016 by Anand Ayyadurai, Padmanabhan Balakrishnan and Sanchit Mittal.

According to Vogo, it operates the country's first automated pickup-and-drop scooter rental platform. Vogo remotely tracks and monitors scooters in real-time, which in theory makes the vehicles Internet of Things (IoT) devices. It is currently operational in Mysuru, Manipal, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.

A few scooter-sharing startups have attracted investor attention lately.

TechCircle reported earlier this month that Bengaluru-based Wickedride Adventure Services Pvt. Ltd, which operates dockless scooter and bicycle sharing platform Bounce, was in advanced stages of discussions to raise $50 million (Rs 348 crore) in a fresh funding round from new and existing investors .

Ola

Ola, operated by ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd, has been testing several initiatives to cover a wide spectrum of transportation services in India even as continues its global expansion and looks to grab market share from US-headquartered rival Uber.

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

The homegrown unicorn was 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.

Recent reports suggested that Ola, which counts SoftBank and Temasek Holdings among its investors, was in discussions with South African internet conglomerate Naspers to raise $1 billion in fresh funding.

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