Ola Cabs ties-up with Lyft, GrabTaxi, Didi Kuaidi to take on Uber

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Bangalore | Updated: Dec 04, 2015 6:14 PM

Ola is estimated to be valued at $5 billion, Didi Kuaidi at $15 billion, Lyft at $4 billion and GrabTaxi at $1.5 billion. Uber is valued at a huge $50 billion.

OlaOla has announced a tie-up with Didi Kuaidi, China’s largest taxi-hailing service, Lyft, the San Francisco-based transportation network company, and GrabTaxi, the Singapore-based taxi service, for a global ride-share partnership between the four companies.

In a move that could threaten Uber’s dominance in the taxi-hailing space, its Indian rival Ola has announced a strategic partnership with Didi Kuaidi, China’s largest taxi-hailing service, Lyft, the San Francisco-based transportation network company, and GrabTaxi, the Singapore-based taxi service, for a global ride-share partnership between the four companies.

This is an extension of the strategic partnership between Lyft and Didi Kuaidi agreed earlier in September. Together, these companies now cover nearly all of Southeast Asia, India, China and the US.

The partnership will roll out in the first quarter of 2016. Collectively, the four companies have raised more than $7 billion. As the local leaders, Didi, GrabTaxi and Lyft will provide services to Ola passengers travelling to China, Southeast Asia and the US on their existing app, making it convenient for frequent travellers.

Ola is estimated to be valued at $5 billion, Didi Kuaidi at $15 billion, Lyft at $4 billion and GrabTaxi at $1.5 billion. Uber is valued at a huge $50 billion.

Through this global alliance, the companies will collaborate and leverage each other’s technology, local market knowledge and business resources so that international travellers can seamlessly access local on-demand rides by using the same application they use at home.

Each country will handle mapping, routing and payments through a secure API, providing the best global experience for the millions of travellers that cross between India, Southeast Asia, China and the US every year, the company said in a statement.

Speaking on the development, Bhavish Aggarwal, co-founder and CEO of Ola, said, “We are excited to partner with Lyft, Didi Kuaidi and GrabTaxi, allowing seamless mobility access across hundreds of cities globally for our combined user base that runs into hundreds of millions.” This will also allow all four companies to learn from each other’s local innovations and successes that can help us in our shared mission to build better mobility solutions in our respective markets, he added.

Ola is available in 102 Indian cities with more than 350,000 vehicles registered on its platform, registering over 1 million booking requests a day. Meanwhile, Didi provides 7 million rides per day across 360 Chinese cities. Didi holds an 83% market share in private car hailing and a dominant position in all other verticals including taxi hailing, bus and corporate services. Lyft, the ride-share service in the US, competes with 7 million rides per month in more than 190 cities. GrabTaxi in Southeast Asia records 1.5 million daily bookings across six countries. GrabTaxi offers the widest range of options in one mobile app including taxis, motorcycle taxis, private cars, car-pooling and deliveries.

Speaking to FE, Harish HV, partner, Grant Thornton India, said, “It is a positive sign. With global partnership and competition, it will take away the monopoly (of Uber) in certain markets and each company will come up with innovative practices. Customers will tend to benefit in the longer run.”

Ola has closed over $ 1.3 billion of external funding, of which over $1.2 billion was raised over the past year. In April 2015, Ola raised $400 million of funding led by DST Global in Series E and prior to that, $210 million led by SoftBank Group as part of its Series D round in October 2014.

Founded in January 2011 by IIT Bombay alumnus Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati, Ola is the biggest rival for Uber in India, which has commitment to invest $1 billion in the Indian market over the next few months.

Ola last month had announced the appointment of Infosys veteran Rajiv Bansal as its chief financial officer. Bansal was CFO at Infosys, where he is currently an adviser to the CEO (at Infosys). Bansal will be part of Ola’s core leadership team and joins the company in January.

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