Ola has signed a term sheet with Mirae Asset- Naver Asia Growth Investment, a fund jointly launched by the Korean financial services giant and one of the country’s top internet companies, for the latter to potentially invest in India’s largest ride-hailing platform.
A possible investment in Ola is likely to be part of the Bengaluru-based Unicorn’s ongoing Series J round of funding, which is estimated at $1 billion, and has already seen the company raise a substantial sum of capital from a clutch of mostly new investors, according to sources briefed on the development.
The investment is also likely to happen at a similar valuation – $5.5-$6 billion – at which the company has raised cash so far, from the likes of Flipkart Co-founder Sachin Bansal, existing investor Steadview Capital and a cohort of US-based investors, a list that includes Raymond S Cahnman, Chairman of Transmarket Group, philanthropists Tina and Steven Price, J3T Ventures and Lyon Assets.
ET, however, could not ascertain the exact amount Mirae Asset-Naver Asia Growth was looking to invest in Ola, which has been on a fund raising spree over the past few months, as it looks to further build on its Foodpanda business, invest in its international operations, expand into newer segments, as well as continue battling US-based rival for dominance in India.
Ola has been looking to diversify from its core ride-hailing operations, and has been exploring newer avenues for growth, which includes, pharmaceuticals delivery, lending and payments among others.
Last year, Ola started making money on each cab ride — a major milestone — after taking into account expenses such as driver incentives and customer discounts, which showed in the company’s financial results for the year. Ola reported a 61% rise in revenue to Rs 2,223 crore in FY18 while curbing losses by 42% to Rs 2,842 crore.
Emails sent to Ola spokespersons and Ashish Dave, who leads the India venture capital investment practice at Mirae Asset Global Investment, seeking further clarifications, did not elicit any response at the time of going to press.
The Mirae Asset-Naver Asia Growth Investment fund was set up by the two entities to book investments in Asia’s rapidly expanding consumer internet ventures. According to reports, the fund which was set up last year, is being managed by auto lease and financing company Mirae Asset Capital Co. Ltd. and Mirae Asset Global Investments Co. Ltd.
In April last year, ET, citing sources, had reported that South Korean financial services firm Mirae Global Asset Management was in the process of setting up an Asia-focused venture capital fund of close to $1 billion with India as one of the key focus geographies.
The firm has roped in Ashish Dave, a former executive at VC firm Kalaari, to lead India investments, with a focus on mid- to late-stage transactions.
Mirae is setting up the fund with South Korean internet conglomerate Naver, best known for promoting messaging application Line. Both companies are initially contributing a total of $200 million to the corpus, which will be increased depending on the opportunities.
In August last year, Mirae Asset-Asset-NaAsia Growth had participated in Singapore-based ride hailing major Grab’s $1 billion funding round, the joint fund’s first investment since being set up.
Mirae Asset Global is also believed to participating in a new round in domestic online grocery retailer BigBasket that could potentially value the latter at about $1 billion.