Riding pillion! Ola to invest $100 million in start-up Vogo

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Published: December 19, 2018 2:35:30 AM

Fund will help the scooter-sharing company to expand fleet by 100,000, allow it to grow without borrowing

Riding pillion! Ola to invest $100 million in start-up Vogo

Ride-sharing platform Ola announced on Tuesday that it has invested $100 million in scooter-sharing company Vogo. The infusion will help Vogo expand its fleet of scooters by 100,000. The company said the funds would allow it to grow the business without having to borrow or raise equity.

Ola’s 150 million customers will soon be able to access the scooter-sharing product directly by using the Ola app, the company said. Ola had earlier invested in Vogo as part of Series A fund-raising which saw participation from Matrix Partners India and Stellaris Venture Partners, it said in a statement. Vogo had reportedly raised $7 million back then.

Founded by Anand Ayyadurai, Sanchit Mittal and Padmanabhan B, Vogo is a point-to-point dockless scooter sharing company, present in Bengaluru and Hyderabad, and claims to have served over 20 million kilometres on its platform. Vogo scooters come with an internet of things device that allows the customer to access the key via one-time-password (OTP) which eliminates the need for human intervention.

Bhavish Aggarwal, co-founder and CEO at Ola, said the investment in Vogo will help build a smart multi-modal network for first-last mile connectivity in the country.

“Vogo’s automated scooter-sharing platform, backed by Ola’s expertise in this space, can help transform our cities. Together, we are thrilled to be at the forefront of India’s rapidly growing micro-mobility market,” Aggarwal said.

Anand Ayyadurai, founder and CEO, Vogo claimed that the firm has seen rapid growth in the last five months, growing at over 10x in scale. “We are thrilled to have Ola join us on this journey and help turbocharge our growth by providing us access to strategic and capital efficient supply as well as access to millions of customers on its platform in the time to come. Ola’s deep understanding of mobility and their investment to power additional supply are extremely valuable to Vogo,” he said.

Ola itself has reportedly received offers from Japan’s SoftBank that may invest as much as close to $800 million to a billion dollars. Reports also indicate that SoftBank already owns over 26% in Ola and it is unclear whether the firm’s co-founder Bhavish Aggarwal will accept more funds from the Japanese investor. FE could not independently verify the same.

To use Vogo’s service, a customer has to download the app, provide a few details, including the driving licence, and then book a ride. Once a vehicle is booked, the customer can take it from the pick-up point. To unlock the vehicle, one would have to generate an OTP. The company charges on a per minute basis or for specific intervals such as one hour, two hours, 10 hours, etc, according to its website.

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