Ride-hailing Major Ola is well within the reach of taking yet another step in diversifying its core business. According to sources, Ola is in advanced talks to pick up stake in Pune based carpooling app sRide. Sources add that the company is looking to invest 26% stake in sRide at an estimated investment of 30 crore.
There are also rumors that few investment companies may also join Ola to pump in fresh capital in sRide. However, this information is still unverified despite efforts taken by top business publications including Economic Times.
Both Ola and sRide have also been less forthcoming in commenting over this issue. Several emails sent by media houses did not elicit any response from both companies.
sRide is one of the credible contenders in India’s nascent carpooling industry. Founded by Lakshna Chadha Jha and Nitin Chadha, the company is largely a bootstrapped firm. Hence Ola would be sRide’s first institutional investor if the ongoing talks does fructify into investment.
Carpooling concept, wherein car owners and co-travellers connect each other, is yet to pick up in big way in India. Even in developed countries, Carpooling as a concept has still not managed to take the market by storm. However, encouraging trends during the last few years has hinted that carpooling is gaining steady popularity.
According to Statista report, revenue in India’s ride-sharing segment is likely to grow at CAGR of 19.6% in 2018-22 to reach at nearly $761 Mn. The fact that India’s complex urban mobility problem needs to look beyond conventional solutions like ride-hailing also lends much-needed hope to carpooling industry.
Ola’s growing diversification & expansion
Ola’s steadily growing diversification is clearly reflective of its aggressive strategy. Going by its investment, it seems that the company is looking towards first mover advantage in promising areas. Last year in December, the ride-hailing major invested $100 Mn in scooter rental startup VOGO to cash in on the growing demands for bike rentals.
The SoftBank Company has also been aggressive in promoting its food delivery business. To catch up with Swiggy and Zomato, it has aggressively unleashed discounts and cash back offers.
Ola’s aggressive diversification perfectly complements its expansion strategy as well. Its recent belligerent expansion has helped company’s core business of ride-hailing in expanding to international shores.
Today Ola is operating its fleets in U.K, Australian and New Zealand. It may also expand to other international markets in 2019.
The Aggressive strategy clearly shows that Ola’s CEO Bhavish Aggarwal is not leaving any stone unturned to keep the investment community happy; not only the existing investors but also potential investors. The latter has especially gained lot of importance as Aggarwal looks to curb SoftBank’s influence over the company’s boardroom.