Ola has announced that it would be investing 100 million dollar in scooter rental startup Vogo, on Tuesday. Few day back, Ola’s arch rival, Uber also declared that it will be investing in scooter startups — it has bought one and will be investing in another.
In August this year, Ola first invested, when Vogo raised an undisclosed Series A round from Ola, Matrix Partners and other investors, but now Ola is doubling down with this follow-on deal.
Though it isn’t saying how much equity it has captured with this investment, nor the valuation that it gives Vogo.
This is a strategic investment and soon Vogo scooters will now appear within the Ola app, from where they can be booked by the company’s 150 million registered users. Currently Vogo operates in Bengaluru and Hyderabad. It is expected to lean on Ola to expand into other parts of tier-one India where Ola already has a strong presence.
Reportedly, Ola’s money is going directly into supply, with Vogo planning to buy 100,000 more scooters for its platform. An interesting feature is, that the company’s scooters are unlocked using a one-time password generated from the company’s Android app. After the scheduled ride, scooters are either dropped off at a designated station, or the rider specifies that they are taking a round trip and then returns it to the station where they started.
Bhavish Aggarwal CEO and co-founder Ola said that he hopes the deal and integration will improve last-mile transportation options across India.
A selection of screen captures from the Vogo Android app
In a statement, he said, “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.”
Previously, Ola had invested in its own bike rental service last year, although that category has struggled in India as Chinese imports like Ofo have fled the country after struggling to develop a sustainable business in the country, and others outside of China. Since 2016, Both Ola and Uber have offered motorbike taxis in India since 2016, but scooters offer a more individual approach.
Notably, Uber, doesn’t offer scooters in India at this point.