App-based taxi aggregator Uber has raised a total of about USD 2.8 billion in its last couple of funding rounds which will primarily be used for investments in India and China, the company’s Asia head has said.
These rounds will help the US-based firm, present in 311 cities in 57 nations, to expand in India where it faces stiff competition from taxi hailing app Ola, which recently acquired TaxiForSure and raised USD 400 million.
“In the last couple of months, Uber has raised money with India and China in focus. These are very big markets and priority for us and we feel they will help us drive growth for the firm,” Uber’s Head of Asia Operations Allen Penn told PTI.
Uber looks at India as a major market, which in the past couple of years has seen a phenomenal growth in the number of taxi service providers, especially in metros and analysts are now pegging the market size to be as much as Rs 30,000 crore.
In December last year, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick in a blog post had said it has “raised a financing round of USD 1.2 billion, with additional capacity remaining for strategic investments.
“This financing will allow Uber to make substantial investments, particularly in the Asia Pacific region.”
Market insiders said earlier this year Uber raised USD 600 million and USD 1 billion is separate fund raising rounds, topping the total Series E round to USD 2.8 billion.
So far, the firm has raised USD 5.6 billion and is valued at around USD 40 billion.
The company has introduced several firsts in the country, an indication that India is a priority market for Uber.
Yesterday, in a global first, Uber said it is introducing cash payment option in Hyderabad, as an experiment.
This is being done to gain a deeper understanding of the consumer behaviour as well as preferences and usage trends to develop a robust payment option for the local market.
Other India-specific firsts include uberGO for cheaper cab fares, uberAUTO for booking auto rickshaws as well as safety features like SOS button, Send Status and SOS alert solution for law enforcement.
In a bid to swell its cab driver base in India, the firm in November last year introduced Uber Vehicle Financing Programme.
Though the firm has not disclosed its cab driver base in India, analysts peg it in the range of 45,000-60,000.