Ofo, the bike sharing startup based in China that was able to obtain Unicorn status recently, announced that Ant Financial, the payment arm of Alibaba, is now an investor.
According to a report in TechCrunch, which cited a statement Ofo posted to its Weibo account in China, Ofo said it will work with Ant Financial to offer internet and credit card payments, as well as an expansion internationally.
Ant and Ofo wouldn’t disclose how much Ant invested in the startup. The move to add Ant as an investor comes two months after it raised $450 million in a Series D round of funding that the company said gave it a valuation of greater than $1 billion — and thus the Unicorn status. The round was led by DST Global and included Matrix China, CITIC and Didi Chuxing, the largest car-hailing app in China, reported TechCrunch.
With Ant Financial now backing Ofo, the bike-hailing startup should be able to compete better against main rival Mobike, reported TechCrunch, noting that both companies want to expand outside China and have been lining up strategic partners and new investors. Some of Mobike’s investors include Tencent, the biggest competitor to Alibaba and Foxconn, the manufacturing company for tech products.
In a statement to TechCrunch, Ofo said it is aiming to be the world’s largest bike rental platform and that it is gearing up to work with Ant Financial to expand into new countries.
Ofo isn’t the only bike startup to raise funds recently. In March, LimeBike, the San Mateo, Calif.-based company, which seeks to expand a Chinese style of bike sharing, announced a $12 million round of venture funding with plans to expand in the U.S.
Investors in this round were led by Andreessen Horowitz with IDG Ventures and DCM Ventures, as well as a few other unknown investors.