Online cab hiring service Olacabs, run by Mumbai-based ANI Technologies Pvt Ltd, is foraying into auto rickshaw booking space, according to a report by The Economic Times. The startup is already running a pilot with around 300 auto rickshaws in Bangalore, according to this report.
More details on the new addition are not available. We have contacted the firm for more details, and will update the story as and when we hear from it.
In this vertical, Ola will compete with mGaadi, a mobile-based auto rickshaw booking service in Bangalore. mGaadi, which is run by Bangalore-based India Drivers Network Services Pvt Ltd, recently secured an undisclosed amount in seed funding from Unitus Seed Fund.
Olacabs was founded in January 2011 by IIT Bombay alumni Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati. The firm recently raised $210 million from Japanese internet and telecom giant SoftBank. Previously, it raised Rs 250 crore ($41.8 million) in its Series C round of funding led by Hong Kong-based equity hedge fund Steadview Capital and Silicon Valley-based Sequoia Capital. Existing investors Matrix Partners India and Tiger Global Management also participated in this round.
In November last year, Olacabs had raised its Series B round of funding led by Matrix Partners India for a big minority stake, with participation from existing investor Tiger Global Management. Although the company had not disclosed the amount at the time, media reports pegged it at $20 million. Prior to that, it had raised Rs 19.2 crore ($3.2 million) from existing investor Tiger Global in July the same year, which was believed to be part of the same round.
Back in 2012, the company had raised over $5 million in its Series A funding from Tiger Global. Prior to that, it had raised angel funding from a bunch of individual investors, including Rehan Yar Khan and Anupam Mittal.
In the cab booking segment, Ola is mainly competing with Google Ventures-backed Uber, which came into India last October, and domestic players such as TaxiForSure (backed by Accel Partners and Bessemer Venture Partners), Savaari, taxiGUIDE and Cabs24X7. While on the one hand, they have been slowly giving an organised face to the highly fragmented market for taxis in the country, the rush of cash among the peer group and the race to break out of the pack have now forced the top bracket players to get into a price war. Industry experts say the discounts and cut throat pricing are sinking firms deeper into losses. Given the massive price war among these firms, Ola's entry into auto rickshaw service makes sense.