Venture

Hellobike Raises Hundreds Of Millions, Despite Bike-Sharing Woes

Morning Markets: Capping off a week of stock market turmoil, there’s new capital in the market for bike-sharing startups. That’s unexpected.

Today news broke that Hellobike, a China-based bike-sharing startup, has raised a new raft of cash. The precise figure is hard to nail down, but TechInAsia reports that the figure is around 4 billion RMB, or around $582 million as of the time of writing.

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In an emailed comment, Hellobike told Crunchbase News that it “secured billions of yuan in [its] latest round of fundraising, led by Primavera Capital and Ant Financial,” but declined to provide an exact figure.

The new funds come at an trying time for Hellobike’s sector. Leading China-based bike-sharing powerhouses Ofo and Mobike have hit troubles and landed soft exits, respectively. With those two in trouble, and scooter-focused share companies taking the limelight and, seemingly, the financial oxygen in the micromobility space, to see Hellobike raise as much as it has is surprising.

(Ofo has fallen into a cash crunch and an expectations crisis. Companies that have raised over $2 billion aren’t supposed to struggle to refund deposits. And yet.)

TechInAsia details that Hellobike handles over 20 million “daily rides” with 200 million “registered users” in 300 hundred cities in China. With tens of millions of rides daily, Hellobike’s revenue looks large from the outside. Hellobike’s scale may make the round more reasonable than we might have first guessed.

With Hellobike, as with Ofo and Mobike, we see a leading China-based tech shop taking financial interest in mobility. In this case, Ant Financial, an Alibaba affiliate. Alibaba, a China-based tech giant, invested in Ofo in the past, making the new Hellobike round all the more interesting, and, if we’re being honest, confusing. Mobike, in contrast, was supported by Tencent and acquired by an affiliated companyMeituan Dianping. (Meituan Dianping recently went public.)

Hellobike has now raised around $1.8 billion in total, kicking off with a late 2016 Series A. The firm’s early rounds were led by GGV Capital, until WM Motor, a China-based car company led its Series C. Ant took the wheel with Hellobike’s Series D, leading or co-leading all subsequent rounds.

Between Ofo and Hellobike, the larger Alibaba family has huge bets in the bike space. Why, is the remaining question.

Illustration Credit: Li-Anne Dias

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