The “dockless” bike sharing start-up OFO recently made the largest single round of financing in China’s bicycle-sharing industry, navigating regulatory risks associated with its innovative business model, according to legal counsel involved.
“Bike sharing is a new business innovation that originated in China,” Rocky Lee, an international partner and head of US corporate practice at King & Wood Mallesons, told China Business Law Journal. “While there have been ample examples of docked shared bikes around the world in major metropolitan cities – Beijing has its own docked bike sharing programme – China is the first to come up with the innovation of a ‘dockless’ bike sharing business.”
OFO, based in Beijing, is reportedly the world’s earliest start-up of its kind. In its recent series D round of preferred equity financing, the company raised approximately US$450 million, with the largest investment from DST, followed by a number of other renowned PRC and overseas institutions, including Didi, CITIC Private Equity Funds, Atomico, Macrolink Group and Coatue Management.