Vanguard trims Indian ride-hailing giant Ola's valuation by 35%

Ola, an Indian ride-hailing startup, has seen its valuation trimmed by its backer Vanguard amid a weakening global economy that has significantly impacted market capitalizations across numerous public companies.

Vanguard cut the valuation of Ani Technologies, Ola's holding firm, by 35% as of the end of February, it disclosed in its semi-annual report to investors. The U.S. index fund pioneer marked down the holding of its Ola shares to $33.8 million, from the $51.7 million purchase price, according to an analysis of its filings.

During the same period, the growth fund of Vanguard reported value appreciation in its investments in India's Housing Development Finance Corp and L&T holdings, while it saw a mild decline in the value of its HDFC Bank shares.

The updated valuation of Ola shares by Vanguard reduces the Indian ride-hailing startup's worth to approximately $4.8 billion, a decrease from $7.3 billion at the close of 2021. Ola had previously been valued at $5.7 billion in a private funding round in January 2019.

An Ola spokesperson declined to comment.

The Bengaluru-based company joins a growing list of high-profile Indian startups that have had their valuations reduced by investors. Invesco lowered Swiggy's valuation by almost half to $5.5 billion in January of this year, while Blackrock cut Byju's valuation by nearly half to $11.5 billion in the previous year.

Recent valuation cuts shed new light on the impact of deteriorating global market conditions on Indian startups. Last year saw a dip in funding activities within India's startup ecosystem, yet the valuations of many larger startups remained unaltered as they either raised capital through convertible notes (thus postponing price discovery) or chose not to raise funds altogether.

It is important to note that investors evaluate the equity value of their existing startup portfolios using various methods. As a result, a significant valuation adjustment by a single investor may not necessarily reflect the views of other investors, and in some instances, even the startups themselves.