Bengaluru: Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal has committed more of his personal $1 billion-plus fortune to Ola, owned by ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd, taking his total investments in the ride-hailing app to about $92 million ( ₹650 crore).
Bansal, who made more than $1 billion by selling his 5.5% stake in the e-commerce major during the $16-billion Walmart-Flipkart deal, has invested across tranches in Ola’s Series J round. In January, Bansal had invested about $21 million ( ₹150 crore) in the ride-hailing company. Ola aims to raise $1 billion as part of the funding round.
Bansal may invest more in subsequent funding rounds, according to two people aware of the development. He is, however, not expected to take an advisory role at Ola, or be involved in the company’s operations.
“I have known Bhavish (Aggarwal) as an entrepreneur and as a friend over the years and I have great respect for what he and the team at Ola have built in just eight years. I am personally thrilled to be part of the Ola journey and I look forward to contributing to their success," Bansal said.
On 19 January, Mint reported that Bansal had committed to an investment of $100 million in Ola. Mint first reported on 3 August 2018 that Bansal was considering an investment of $700 million to $1 billion in startups.
Over the past six months, Bansal has been in talks with startups such as Ather Energy and SigTuple to make strategic investments. He also set up a new holding company, BAC Acquisitions Pvt Ltd, which will be used to route all his future startup investments.
Bansal’s investment in Ola is widely being seen as strengthening the hand of Ola founder Aggarwal, who has been locked in a boardroom battle with the company’s largest shareholder, SoftBank Group Corp., since 2017.
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Aggarwal has even gone to the extent of changing Ola’s articles of association to include a clause to prevent the Japanese investor from buying more shares in Ola without the approval from the company’s founders and board.
It is unclear whether Aggarwal will take more money from the Masayoshi Son-led SoftBank, even as Ola continues to finalize discussions with new investors, such as Singapore’s Temasek Holdings Ltd.
Temasek has bought shares in Ola through a secondary transaction.
“We are extremely thrilled to have Sachin on board Ola as an investor. Sachin is an icon of entrepreneurship and his experience of building one of India’s most respected businesses ground up, is unparalleled. His investment is a huge encouragement for all of us at Ola and our mission to serve a billion people," said Aggarwal.