On July 6, Chinese bike-sharing start-up ofo announced a 700 million dollar funding round. The Series E funding was led by Alibaba, Hony Capital, and CITIC Private Equity, with additional investment from current investors Didi Chuxing and DST Global. CEC Capital served as the exclusive financial advisor to ofo in the transaction.
This news is particularly noteworthy as it proves Alibaba’s official siding with ofo. The companies had previously been linked as early as April this year after a strategic investment from Alibaba’s affiliate Ant Financial, but the race to international domination in the bike-sharing space requires more steam.
A look back at ofo’s financing rounds:
March 1, 2015
ofo receives a few million RMB in angel investment from Will Hunting Capital.
December 1, 2015
ofo closes $1.3 million seed round led by Hongdao Capital and Will Hunting Capital.
January 1, 2016
ofo raises $2.2 million Series A led by GSR Ventures.
April 1, 2016
ofo extends its Series A with another $1.5 million led by Zhen Fund.
September 1, 2016
ofo raises tens of millions of dollars in its Series B led by Matrix Partners.
September 26, 2016
Didi Chuxing invests tens of millions of dollars in ofo.
October 10, 2016
ofo announces it has raised $130 million in its Series C at a $370 Million pre-money valuation.
March 1, 2017
ofo closes $450 million Series D led by DST Global. Other investors included CITIC, Coatue and Didi.
April 1, 2017
ofo raises hundreds of millions of yuan a Series D+ round from Ant Financial.
July 6, 2017
ofo closes $700 million US Dollar led by Alibaba.
“ofo is committed to providing global users with a convenient, efficient, green and healthy way of travel,” Dai Wei, founder and CEO of ofo, said in a statement. “We will further upgrade our service for better user experiences, accelerate our global expansion strategy, and continue to lead the bike-sharing industry.”
Since its inception in June 2015, ofo has installed more than 6.5 million bikes, provided over 2 billion rides for people in more than 150 cities in 5 countries most recently breaching the 25 million daily rides mark. By the end of 2017, ofo plans to deploy 20 million bikes across 200 cities worldwide and expand its service to 20 countries and regions.
Alibaba, as a leading investor in this funding round, is very optimistic about ofo’s future. Joseph C. Tsai, Executive Vice Chairman of Alibaba, said “ofo has redefined the short-distance commute and enabled more people to embrace a low-carbon lifestyle. Alibaba applauds ofo’s market-leading position and its open-platform strategy. We look forward to working closely with ofo to unleash the full potential of bike-sharing worldwide”.
The ties with Alibaba date back to March 16, when ofo started using Ant Financial’s credit-rating system, Sesame Credit, to allow Shanghai users with a credit score above 650 to rent bikes without a deposit. This was expanded to Hangzhou in April 2017 and as of July 2017 it has also been rolled out to Shenzhen and Xiamen.
Financing of other bike-sharing start-ups:
In June 2017, Mobike, ofo’s main competitor, secured $600 million Series E funding round from Tencent, Bocom International, TPG Capital, Hillhouse Capital Group, Sequoia Capital China, Farallon Capital, ICBC International.
Hellobike, focused mainly on second-tier cities, raised hundreds of millions of dollars strategic investment from KPMG International in Series B+ funding round.
Bluegogo, an affiliate of SpeedX, raised $60 million from Black Hole and Elex in Series A funding round.
This article by Fang Yan originally appeared in Tencent Technology News and was translated by Pandaily.
Click here to read the original Chinese article.