Ola Electric said on Monday it has raised $200 million in a new financing round even as the Indian ride-hailing giant’s spin-off struggles to deliver its maiden electric scooter to customers and questions about its work culture have been raised.
Tekne Private Ventures, Alpine Opportunity Fund and Edelweiss are among those that financed the new round, which values Ola Electric at $5 billion, up from $3 billion in September last year, the Bengaluru-headquartered startup said.
“I thank the investors for their support and look forward to partnering with them to take the EV revolution from India to the world,” Ola Electric co-founder and CEO Bhavish Aggarwal said in a statement. The startup is looking to expand into more categories, including cars, he said.
Ola Electric — which counts Tiger Global and Alpha Wave Global among its existing backers — last year announced its first electric scooter, called Ola S1. Priced at about $1,350, the battery-powered scooter offers a range of 121 kilometers (75 miles) on a complete charge.
That’s more of a hypothetical / untested claim for most individuals, as the startup has delayed the shipment of the scooter several times. And at best, only a tiny fraction of the customer base that had preordered the vehicle has received it.
In the meantime, Bounce, a fellow Bengaluru-headquartered startup, has unveiled its own electric scooter that many analysts say promises to pack more than Ola’s offering.
Two-wheelers account for more than three-fourths of all vehicles sold in India. The push by startups, as well as large vehicle makers, coupled with favorable government incentives in recent years, is beginning to put India’s push to EV in the right direction. Analysts at UBS wrote in a report last week that they estimate 37% of all two-wheelers in India to be powered by electric by the end of the decade.
But for that projection to come true, plenty of factors need to play out the right way.
One of it could be the work culture at Ola, one of India’s largest startups. Ola and Ola Electric have also seen several key executive departures in recent months as a result of what Indian outlet Morning Context reported as toxic work culture and distrustful chief executive. Aggarwal is also the co-founder and chief executive of Ola, which recently raised capital at a valuation of $7.3 billion.