Ola founder snubs a meeting arranged with Saudi investors because of Softbank

Ola partnering with Hyundai

Ola is having a lot of troubles recently. The company was banned from practicing in Bengaluru for six months. This was due to illegal use of Bike Taxis which had no regulations. The government of Karnataka had banned the company from all the activities. It was only after paying a hefty fine that the company could resume its business in the startup capital of India. The company has had troubles not only with such regulations but also with many of its adventurous ventures.

The hierarchy problems have also been aplenty. The company was almost lost to a Japanese giant had it not been for some immediate measures. Bhavish Aggarwal was super quick to see through the intentions of Softbank which had just made a $1 billion investment in the Indian company. Softbank’s share in the company stood at 26% which is the largest but any further and according to the company policy, it would gain control.

Citing this, Softbank came with another $1 billion and had Ola accepted this generous yet malicious offer, it would have been game over for Bhavish Aggarwal. That said, Aggarwal politely declined the offer and quickly gained trust from a list of investors. He brought in Sachin Bansal, Flipkart co-founder and promised $100 million in the company. Temasek Holdings also came in and vouched to vote for Bhavish Aggarwal.

Jump to last month, Softbank India’s head, Rajeev Misra had arranged a meeting with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, and many startup founders were present. There were founders of OYO, Delhivery, Grofers, Paytm and many among others. However, Bhavish Aggarwal was nowhere to be seen. These startup founders were also going to be introduced to the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad Bin Salman. This was a huge meeting but Aggarwal missed it and it was because he is distancing himself from everything that smells Softbank.

He has instead created a bubble around himself and his trusted investors. Ola recently launched Ola Auto in London, UK and it has also partnered with Hyundai which has pledged $300 million to the electric cars project in India. This does not come as a surprise but Ola is doing well with itself. Although Softbank still remains to be the largest shareholder in the company, Bhavish Aggarwal and the other founders have distanced themselves from the Japanese behemoth.

That said, Softbank has also lost interest in Ola and has placed a humongous bet on Uber. The American company is planning to go to the public soon and Softbank wanted a share of the same. Uber being a direct rival of Ola has also caused problems. There were talks of Ola acquiring Uber India but they broke off eventually. Meanwhile, Softbank has nothing to do with Ola for the moment and the reason for it is Ola itself.

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