Four months into Alibaba-backed ofo’s exit from India, scooter-sharing platform Bounce has acquired the Chinese unicorn’s India assets. Ofo wrapped up its operations in 10 countries including Australia, Germany, Czech Republic and Austria this year.
Bounce did not reveal the size of the deal or other acquisition details. However, the company will absorb few higher officials from the ofo team.
Although it raised USD 2 billion in funding, ofo faced severe cash crunch after six months of business in India. Ofo was operating in seven cities including Pune, Coimbatore, Bengaluru, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Delhi and Pune. Bounce will pilot in all the seven cities soon.
Unlike Yulu and Zoomcar’s Pedl, ofo cycles don’t come with smart locks that allow users to lock and unlock bicycles from the app. Both Yulu and Pedl import their smart locks from China.
“We will install the smart lock in the bicycles we have acquired from ofo,” said Ankit Acharya, spokesperson, Bounce.
“The last mile transportation from a bus stop or a metro station to home or to office is a big problem to solve and bicycles are the best option to tackle this,” he said.
Bounce is having an eventful second-half in 2018. The company, rebranded as Bounce (Metro Bikes used to be the brand name), raised USD 12.2 million from Sequoia and Accel Partners in Series A in August and received another USD 3 million in debt funding from Innoven Capital.
Co-founded by Vivekananda HR, Anil G, and Varun Agni, Bounce was launched in mid-2016 as a two-wheeler renting platform. Currently, Bounce has presence in 13 cities.
Amit Gupta, co-founder, Yulu, said India needs serious bicycle-sharing companies to set the benchmark. “Half-steppers,” he said, “would put industry in the back foot as people who used the services of non-serious players would have bad memories.”
India is seeing a handful of bicycle-sharing companies bent on spreading their “tyre-print” in multiple cities with help from local government bodies. Zoomcar’s Pedl is present in eight cites, while Yulu is present in three cities - Bengaluru, Mumbai and Pune.
Gurgaon-based Mobycy operates in eight cities including Noida, Gurgaon, Faridabad, Chandigarh, Bengaluru, Pune, Jaipur, etc. In December 2017, it raised USD 500,000 as seed funding from a US-based angel investor, with a follow-up undisclosed funding led by Venture Catalysts.
A month after Meituan Dianping acquired Mobike, a Beijing-headquartered bicycle-sharing company for USD 2.7 billion, it launched its India operation in Pune.
“It’s good that Bounce understood the value of bicycles in urban mobility space. Ofo spread itself thin (with around 150 cycles in each city). That’s not good for business. Mobike is doing better and is more focused,” said Gupta.