(Yicai Global) March 15 -- Chinese bike-sharing giant Beijing Bikelock Technology Co., better known as Ofo, is preparing for even more funding soon following a recent round which pooled USD861 million, says one of the firm's founders.
New funding is already in the works and "it may come soon," said co-founder and board member Yu Xin in a recent interview with news site 36Kr following the firm's recent successful E2-1 funding round.
The recent round of funding was Tencent Holdings Ltd.-backed Ofo's largest financing to date, this time led by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., its third-party payment affiliate Ant Financial, Haofeng Group, Tianhe Capital and Junli Capital.
The funding includes investment garnered through a chattel mortgage agreement, with, Yu said, while refuting reports that all of the round was made up of debt financing. "Recently, I have seen articles saying that debt financing made up all of the investment, however, it is not the case," he said.
Yu Xin referred to a previous case when the company was questioned for financing fraud stating, "There was nothing to be questioned. After this financing, Alibaba (including Ant Financial) has become the company's second-largest institutional shareholder."
In response to the reports saying Ofo wants to get rid of Didi's control through Alibaba's investment, Yu Xin said, "We have never ever had such an idea or plan, both Didi and Alibaba are our important shareholders. All shareholders are very important to us."
Ofo will prioritize efficiency in its operations this year following last year's aggressive expansion. Part of the funding will be used for the updating of old bikes. "It has been three years since Ofo's inception. It's natural that more and more bicycles will be scrapped, so we will replace them with new ones."
Overseas markets remain a priority for the firm and it will continue to look for expansion in foreign markets.
China's biggest bike-sharers Ofo and Mobike have seen their valuations soar to over USD1 billion as their market share expanded to over 90% over the past year. However, both firms reportedly suffer from cash issues, due to high maintenance costs, as well as competition with the dozens of other bike-sharing startups that emerged over recent years.