Leading mobile application provider for personal transportation Ola (formerly Olacabs) on Monday announced it was buying out leading cab aggregator TaxiForSure for $200 million (Rs.1,238 crore) in a cash and equity deal. “The deal will make us market leader in the personal transportation space with one lakh vehicles on our mobile platform and deepen our footprint with TaxiForSure operator,” Mumbai-based Ola said in a statement issued.
The city-based TaxiForSure, however, will operate as a separate entity with its chief operating officer (COO) Arvind Singal taking over as chief executive post acquisition. “TaxiForSure co-founders Aprameya Radhakrishna and G. Raghunandan will be on an advisory role for a certain period while all its 1,700 employees will be retained,” it said.
TaxiForSure operates in 47 cities across the country with 15,000 cabs registered on its platform as an aggregator.
IITians Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati co-founded Ola in January 2011 with mobile app to integrate city transportation for customers and drivers on a technology platform. The acquisition will complement both the partners on the supply-demand side, though TaxiForSure follows a different model of working with cab operators while Ola deals with drivers directly.
“We share the same vision of revolutionising urban mobility. There’s complementary value in the strategy TaxiForSure has followed. We look forward to work with its team in realizing our common vision,” Aggarwal said. The four-year-old TaxiForSure focuses on the economy segment of cab consumers with offerings like Tata Nanos as part of its fleet and Rs.49 as base fare.
The deal will, however, not affect customers, drivers or operators on the TaxiForSure platform. Any customer can book a cab through the app and call centre and drivers will get access to them on TaxiForSure’s technology platform. “Post-acquisition, the combined entity will be strong and better capitalised to offer the best value to all our stakeholders, including customers,” Raghunandan said.
Ola is venture funded by Tiger Global, Matrix Partners, Sequoia Capital, Steadview Capital and Softbank in four rounds of fund-raising. Accel Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners and Helion Venture Partners, which invested in TaxiForSure, will roll over their stock into Ola.
Using Ola app, customers can also book three-wheeler auto-rickshaws in Bengaluru, Delhi, Chennai, Pune, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad and ‘Kaali-Peeli’ taxis in Mumbai. Customers access Ola through their mobiles application on Android, iOS and Windows platform for booking cabs or autos in 67 cities across the country. (IANS)