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Flipkart founder Sachin Bansal may invest $100 mn in Ola, says report

Yuvraj Malik/Bengaluru 11 Oct 18 | 03:10 PM

Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal

Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal is likely to invest around $100 million in Ola when the home grown-cab hailing company goes for a fresh round of funding. Sources in the know said that the talks are still in the early stages.

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The Economic Times on Thursday first reported about a possible investment by Bansal who recently made an exit from Flipkart, the ecommerce marketplace he had cofounded with Binnny Bansal (not related) way back in 2007. Sachin is learnt to have raked in around $1 billion towards the 5.5 per cent share he held in the Bengaluru-based company.

Sources also said that Ola is planning to raise close to $1 billion in a fresh round of funding as the cab aggregator faces increasing pressure from rival Uber in the domestic market in India and also pursues aggressive expansion plan overseas, especially in Europe. Sachin Bansal is likely to but fresh shares in the company while it may also have a small secondary component, it addded.

While Bansal could not be reached for his comments, an Ola spokesperson declined to comment.

If concluded, this will be the largest personal investment for Bansal, who also have several early-stage bets under his hood. In the past, he has invested in learning platform Unacademy, news app Inshorts and electric scooter-maker Ather Energy to name a few.

The potential deal suggests Bansal wants to remain clued in into the country's thriving internet entrepreneurial ecosystem, after his exit from Flipkart.

ALSO READ: Sachin Bansal, first investor in Ather, wants to relive Flipkart days

Bansal’s departure from Flipkart was anything but amicable. Insiders say difference emerged between Bansal and the then investors of Flipkart including SoftBank and Tiger Global when talks with Walmart progressed for a possible investment. 

In May this year, the US retailer bought 77 per cent stake in Flipkart for $16 billion. While SoftBank has since made a complete exit, Tiger Global still continues as a minority investor in Flipkart.

“Sachin is like a mentor to start-ups he invests in. He does not like, and may not in this case, take a direct role in operations of the company (Ola)," the founder of a start-up, that counts Bansal among its investors, said requesting anonymity. 

Ola, which was valued at $4.3 billion during its last round of funding in September this year, is backed by battery of prominent investors such as SoftBank Group and Singapore's Temasek.

Presently, the company is said to be leading in the cab hailing space in India. It has also recently forayed into some of the global markets including Australia and the UK.

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