/Bike sharing app ofo pushes ahead of rival with USD 130M funding

Bike sharing app ofo pushes ahead of rival with USD 130M funding

Ofo, a leading bike sharing startup in Beijing, just got an edge over its rival, Mobike, a Shanghai-based bike maker and sharing app – at least in the race for financing.

Ofo on Monday announced its total USD 130 million in Series C financing, beating its rival Mobike’s record of USD 100 million in its own equivalent round of Series C financing.

Contributions to the financing include the tens of millions of dollars of strategic investment included in the initial part pumped in by Didi Chuxing, China’s largest ride-hailing platform, two weeks ago.

The second part of financing was from a group of investors that include Coatue, Xiaomi, CITIC Private Equity Funds Management Co., Vision Capital, and Yuri Milner. Investors from ofo’s earlier rounds, including Matrix Partners China and GSR Ventures, invested again.

Founded in 2014, ofo enables bike sharing in hundreds of universities in China.

With the new funding, ofo will push its operations from college campuses to cities, consolidating its claimed position as the leader in bike sharing in China.

ofo bikes on campus. Photo from Baidu Images.
ofo bikes on campus. Photo from Baidu Images.

Ofo is adding bike plates and standardized locks to bikes to make them ofo bikes.

To move from universities to cities, ofo will refit the bikes to make them appropriate for sharing in the city. The refitting measures include replacing the bicycle tyres with more solid tyres that won’t be punctured as easily. The cost of refitting is RMB 300 per bike.

The startup is also going to change its relatively complex billing methods. Ofo previously charged users according to usage time, distance, and supply of available bikes. In the future, it will charge city dwellers one RMB (15 cents USD) per hour; university teachers and students will only need to pay 0.5 RMB.

Here is a quick comparison of the bike rental fees between ofo and Mobike. A user needs to spend one RMB per hour on ofo, or two RMB on Mobike, for one hour of bike riding. Deposits on ofo and Mobike are RMB 99 and RMB 299 respectively.

The city trial bike rental service by ofo starts today in Shanghai, and will expand to Beijing tomorrow in areas where many white collar workers gather. The official launch in the city is scheduled for next month.

(Top photo from Pixabay.com)

Wang is a contributor at ACT. She is passionate about literature, photography and technology. She graduated from Shanghai University of International Business and Economics.