Travelling In London? Now Book Ola
You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.
As the ride-hailing segment continues to grow, competition between car aggregators has been increasing. While Uber looks to step up its efforts in India, the homegrown Unicorn Ola is looking to challenge the former in the international market. On Monday, Ola announced that its services are now live in London.
According to an official statement, Ola has over 25,000 drivers registered on the platform and is fully operational with three categories—Comfort, Comfort XL and Exec classes.
The company also joined hands with DriveTech (part of the AA, which was formerly known as Automotive Association), consulting giant Mercer and Pearson to ensure that the highest standard of driving skills, driver customer service and communication is available for London riders.
Ola Eyes Uber’s London Market Share
Ola’s launch in London comes after Uber got stripped off its London licence. According to media reports, global ride-hailing giant Uber lost its licence after authorities found that over 14,000 trips were taken with drivers who faked their identity while listing on the company platform.
Ola has been ramping up its international expansion efforts as US-based Uber increases its efforts to capture the Indian market. In October 2019, reports revealed that Uber restructured its corporate holdings to bring its India cab and food delivery business under Uber India Systems.
Prior to this, Uber’s ride-hailing and food delivery business was part of Uber BV, a private limited liability company which is registered in the Netherlands. With this, Uber’s agreements with restaurants and payouts which were sent via the Netherlands-based company have been shifted to India. The rides business will be invoiced out of India as well. This move is aimed at making Uber’s operations “legally sound without any ambiguity”. The restructure business operation was made live on October 1.
Ola’s Focus On Foreign Expansion
The Bengaluru-based ride-hailing giant Ola founded by Bhavesh Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati has been focusing on foreign expansion since 2018.
The Unicorn began its international foray in February 2018 by launching in Australia, followed by UK launch (excluding London) in August 2018 and New Zealand in November 2018. With its services now live in London, Ola is now operational in 28 cities and towns in the UK with a network of over 35,000 drivers. The ride-hailing company received its private hire vehicle operator licence last year in July to launch its operations in London.
The company claims to have over 85,000 driver-partners registered on its platform in Australia and New Zealand across 33 cities. In June 2019, media reports revealed that the company already invested $60 million into its international operations over the last 15 months.
In December 2018, reports also revealed that Aggarwal and Bhati had split the company’s responsibilities. While Agarwal is responsible for overseeing Ola’s international expansion, Bhati is leading the company’s growth in the domestic market.
Apart from international expansion, Ola is also diversifying its operations to strengthen its presence. Recently it was reported that Ola’s parent ANI Technologies is planning to spin off its fintech business Ola Financial Services (Ola Money) as a separate entity.