Uber gets $3.5-billion Saudi boost, to help drive past Ola in India

  • Agencies
  • Updated: Jun 03, 2016 06:18 IST

NEW DELHI/SAN FRANCISCO: Online taxi aggregator Uber will invest in India a “substantial portion” of the $3.5-billion funding raised from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, as the US-based firm looks to overtake local rival, SoftBank-backed Ola.

Uber has raised $3.5 billion from the Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund in its latest financing round, which valued the company at $62.5 billion. The funding round made Uber the most highly valued venture capital-backed company in the world. In a written statement, Uber co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick called the investment a “vote of confidence in our business.”

The funding round is a departure from the startup investing climate, which has seen contraction in recent months as technology companies face greater scrutiny over their valuations.

“A substantial portion will be for India. We have grown exponentially over the last two years, and remain bullish on the Indian market where we continue to register remarkable growth,” said Amit Jain, president, Uber India. “With this investment, we have over $11 billion in our war chest to invest in product and markets.”

“India is our third-largest market, after the US and China, in terms of the number of trips. Our focus is on growing the business here,” he added.

In July, Uber had announced an investment of $1 billion to expand its services in India. It has also set up a response and support centre in Hyderabad at an investment of $50 million.

Uber is present in over 460 cities, globally. In China also, Uber is facing competition from Alibaba-backed Didi Kuaidi. Interestingly, Didi is also a strategic investor in Ola.

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