Ola, India’s largest cab aggregator by market share, entered into a strategic partnership to invest $100 Mn (INR 712 Cr) in Bengaluru-based Vogo, which claims to be India’s fastest growing scooter sharing network. The investment will fund the purchase of 100K scooters to boost Vogo’s current fleet.
“This infusion will give Vogo a strategic supply advantage without having to incur significant capital expenditure. Additionally, Vogo’s offerings will also be available for Ola’s more than 150 Mn customer base, directly from the Ola app soon,” Vogo said in a press release on Tuesday (December 18).
Ola had also previously invested in Vogo as part of the company’s Series A fundraising, which saw participation from Matrix Partners India and Stellaris Venture Partners. Currently, users can avail bike rental services through Vogo’s app on Google’s Play store. The company, however, does not have an app for Apple’s iOS devices and getting access to Ola’s users will increase the startups’ reach multi-fold.
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“Our 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,” said Bhavish Aggarwal, cofounder and CEO of Ola.
Founded in 2016 by Anand Ayyadurai, Padmanabhan Balakrishnan and Sanchit Mittal, Vogo scooters today are present in more than 200 designated points across Bengaluru and Hyderabad. The company claims that over 100,000 users have commuted for over 20 Mn kilometres on its scooters.
“Vogo has seen rapid growth in the last 5 months, growing 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,” said Anand Ayyadurai, founder and CEO of Vogo.
In the scooter sharing segment, Vogo competes with WickedRide, Stoneheadbikes, Rentabike and others.
Even though Ola has been expanding its product portfolio, it hasn’t had much success for its bike taxi operations. Ola introduced a pilot bike taxi services in Bengaluru back in 2016. But the project was withdrawn after the government started seizing the vehicles, calling it a violation of the law.
Meanwhile Uber has been rapidly expanding its UberMOTO portfolio in India with its bike taxis operating in 11 cities in India and 12 cities in the South Asia region. With its investment in Vogo, Ola has shown that it clearly has no intentions of yielding market share to its larger global rival in the country.