India: Taxi hailing service Ola claims 25m customers, hopes to attract more

Ola Cabs. Photo: Mint

India’s largest taxi hailing service Ola, run by ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd, is estimating a three fold increase in customer bookings from 1 million to 3 million per day by April.

The company, which works as a marketplace connecting customers with drivers using technology, claimed on Monday it had served 25 million customers over 150 million cumulative bookings till date.

Cab aggregators such as Ola and Uber Technologies Inc. have slugged it out in recent months to emerge with higher market share in India by adding thousands of vehicles, expanding to new cities, offering heavy discounts, among other strategies. Ola has 325,000 vehicles on its platform and is present in 102 cities ranging from Mumbai to Madurai.

The company said that it has grown three times in size over the last six months, and sees future growth coming from carpooling services and customised deals for frequent users.

“Our next phase of growth will be fuelled by newer, innovative solutions like Ola Share, Ola Prime and others, which are now being piloted on a large scale in select cities,” Bhavish Aggarwal, co-founder and CEO of Ola said in a statement.

Ola, backed by Falcon Edge Capital, DST Global and SoftBank among others, said it currently sees up to 7,500 requests per minute during peak hours.

Ola and Uber have raised and invested significant funds to further expand in India. Uber said it will invest $1 billion into India over the next one year to gain market share.

However, the road ahead might not be smooth.

Last week, India’s ministry of road transport issued guidelines to regulate firms such as Uber and Ola, identifying them as on-demand information technology-based transportation aggregators and not taxi companies.

The guidelines suggest aggregators must not own or lease any vehicle, employ any drivers or represent themselves as a taxi service, unless also registered as a taxi operator, among other requirements.

It’s reasonable to assume at least some state governments, especially the ones run by the ruling party, will incorporate some of the suggestions, posing new challenges to the cab aggregators’ expansion plans.

Also Read: India frames rules for cab aggregators like Ola, Uber

Ola, Uber launch carpool service. But this segment is yet to see any significant success in India

This article was first published on Livemint.com

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.