Chinese bike rental company ofo is said to complete an E2-2 round of fundraising worth hundreds of millions US dollars led by Ant Financial and Didi Chuxing, 36Kr reported quoting insiders (in Chinese). The report did not specify if Ant Financial and Didi are the only two investors.
TechNode reached out to ofo but has not heard back by the publication of the article. Chinese local media also reported that no official announcement has been made regarding the news.
The news comes amid renewed rumors that ofo will be acquired by ride-hailing giant Didi after the bike rental platform withdrew from several global markets amid a cash crunch.
“If you don’t want to fight to the end, you can leave the company right now,” said ofo CEO Dai Wei during an internal conference this May. Dai has been insisting that ofo has to be independent, and asserted that the Didi taking-over news is false. Same has been repeated by co-founder Yu Xin in August.
Dai, however, has been rumored to be looking into blockchain projects along with other ofo veterans—a sign that could mean that he has partially given up hope on the bike rental business. Dai is known to be connected with Justin Sun (Sun Yuchen), one of the country’s biggest crypto billionaires and founder of TRON.
Although the company has repeatedly denied rumors of acquisition, it is quietly taking every possible opportunity to boost revenues. On August 22, ofo activated a commercial advertising scheme which provides five-second ads on the platform’s app.
The sharing economy and transportation markets have been criticizing ofo’s management. The company completed an E2-1 round of financing worth of $866 million also led by Alibaba in March. Despite of that, rumors on ofo’s bankruptcy are growing.
On August 31, China’s well-known bike manufacturer Shanghai Phoenix Bicycle sued ofo for owing the company RMB 68.2 million. Another ofo partner, smart logistics solution provider Yunniao Technology, is now in tough negotiations for an overdue payment which is said to be around RMB 110 million.
Local media reported on September 4th that ofo has been letting go of workers across the board.
Ofo’s main rival Mobike was bought by Meituan-Dianping in April this year. The company has been taking an aim at ofo by allowing riders to use Mobike without deposits. The same perk is offered by Hellobike, another bike rental rival which is focusing on smaller cities.