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The founder of one of India’s largest companies has encouraged the country’s entrepreneurs to seize a ‘unique opportunity’ to attract foreign investors, while regulatory unrest is deterring global funds from China.
Bhavish Aggarwal, CEO of Ola, the SoftBank-backed group to share, says start-ups need to announce the merits of investing in India as a collapse by Beijing wipes out billions of dollars from the value of some of China’s largest companies has.
“India is generally a much more rule of law, market-driven economy, unlike China,” he said. ‘The onus is on Indian entrepreneurs to really engage with investors and tell them about their business and the story of India.
“Investors are getting smarter about the opportunity in India, which differs from the Chinese opportunity in its texture but very similar in terms of scale,” he added.
Fundraising by Indian companies has skyrocketed this year. Companies raised a record $ 13.7 billion in the third quarter of 2021, compared to the previous high of $ 7.2 billion in the three months ended June, according to data provider Tracxn.
Ola’s electric vehicle unit raised $ 200 million from investors last week, including SoftBank and Falcon Edge Capital, a New York hedge fund that valued the company at $ 3 billion.
The public markets in India were also on an 18-month shooting spree, aided by a steady influx of foreign investors in August and September.
The country has long been second only to China as an investment destination, but entrepreneurs hope that comparative regulatory stability, the acceleration of digital adoption and the country’s growing population – which India expects to catch up with China in the coming years – will change the dynamics .
A number of Indian technology companies plan to take advantage of the positive mood in the coming months, including Ola and Oyo, the hotel booking platform. Aggarwal said the company “definitely” plans an initial public offering within the next year, but declined to comment further.
Ola is preparing to submit its listing papers and is trying to raise $ 2 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.
The company’s core business is being hit by the pandemic as mobility in India fell sharply in 2020 and again this year. cruel second wave. Aggarwal said the business had recovered to before Covid level and was profitable.
Ola is also expanding into the production of electric scooters and expects to start delivering its S1 model this month.
India is the world’s largest market for two – wheelers, with cheap, functional models dominating in a market where cars remain unaffordable for a large part of the population. Indian authorities unveil a series of subsidies to encourage a shift to electric about gasoline-burning vehicles to deal with the worst air pollution levels in the world.
But Aggarwal’s ambitions face a number of challenges. So-called gig economy companies, such as the food delivery group Zomato and Ola, which treat managers as independent “partners” rather than employees, are under constant pressure to improve conditions.
Significant infrastructure for electric vehicles, including charging points, also remains underdeveloped, although Aggarwal said it will follow as the market expands.
‘The surrounding infrastructure will also be driven by market forces. . . As consumer demand increases, so does the charging ecosystem, ”he added. “In the two-wheeler space in particular, we believe that the market and consumers are capable of adopting large quantities of electric vehicles.”
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