Mar 7, 2017

Questions swirl around Chinese bike-sharing fundraise

Last week we cited a Bloomberg report about how Chinese bike-sharing startup Ofo had raised $450 million in VC funding at a valuation north of $1 billion. Now, however, there are questions about whether that total is legit. Per China Money Network:

"A number of Wechat screenshots have circulated showing unnamed individuals accusing Ofo of faking the US$450 million number, claiming the company raised only a portion of that amount."

Normally I wouldn't share such un-sourced speculation, except that neither the company nor any of its investors are returning requests for comment. Or, to be more specific, requests to simply confirm that the company raised what it said it raised. Not even emailing back: "I can't talk about it." Just straight radio silence, which is pretty unusual for some of these folks.

Moreover, two VCs with major China exposure tell me that the alleged Ofo raise inflation is an open secret, perhaps designed to put a little fear into rivals like Mobike (whose own recent raise size was confirmed to Axios by investor TPG). Oh, and someone familiar with some earlier Ofo exposure tells me that the "situation is still in flux," but declined to elaborate. So let's keep an eye on this one...

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