After Australia and UK, Indian Cab-Hailing Firm Ola to Enter New Zealand

After entering Australia and United Kingdom, Indian cab aggregator Ola is now launching its services in Auckland, Christchurch, and Wellington in New Zealand.


Indian cab aggregator Ola has announced the launch of its services in New Zealand, its third international market after Australia and the United Kingdom. The company said its ride-hailing services will be available in Auckland, Christchurch, and Wellington in a few weeks from now.

With this launch, the Bengaluru-headquartered Ola, which counts Japan’s Softbank and China’s Tencent as its investors, will deepen its battle with Uber, its traditional rival in India, Australia, and the United Kingdom.

Ola, which was founded in 2011 by IIT-Bombay alumni Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati, claims that it has more than 125 million users taking as many as 1 billion rides annually in its markets in India, Australia, where it launched in February this year, and in the United Kingdom, where it launched in August.

The company is looking for drivers and hopes to begin taking passengers in a few weeks, the company said.

“We see a real opportunity in New Zealand to provide a fair alternative in the rideshare space for both customers and drivers. We invested in understanding the New Zealand customer and devised the right strategy to meet their transport needs,” Bhavish Aggarwal, Co-Founder and CEO, said in a statement. “We are the rideshare brand that cares and are looking forward to creating high-quality transport experiences for both passengers and drivers in New Zealand.”

To build Ola’s presence locally, Brian Dewil has been appointed as Country Manager for New Zealand. The company said Dewil is a proven business leader with over 15 years’ experience working in the technology and start-up industry. He previously founded UrbanSherpa, a firm that disrupted the local courier market and, before his newly appointed role at Ola, he was the Co-Founder and Director of Horizon Robotics, where he implemented robotic technologies to reimagine the way physical goods are transported and delivered.

“Kiwis have had too little choice when it comes to rideshare. Ola’s arrival will create a compelling experience that puts the quality of rides first,” Dewil said.

Ola said it benefits drivers by charging the industry’s lowest commissions, resulting in higher driver earnings, and by paying drivers daily rather than weekly.

Earlier this week, Ola raised $50 million at a valuation of about $4.3 billion from Hong Kong-based Sailing Capital and the China-Eurasian Economic Cooperation Fund (CEECF), as part of its move to raise fresh funds of at least $1 billion.

The two new investors — Sailing and CEECF, a state-backed investment fund of China — will hold a combined stake of more than 1 percent in Ola, implying that the latter’s valuation has gone up since its previous fund-raise, Indian business newspaper Mint said.

The latest fund-raise from the two Chinese investment firms comes at a time when Ola is aggressively expanding outside and within India, while also building up a strong food-tech business to compete with Swiggy and Zomato, as the company looks to fortify its lead against Uber in India, Mint said in a report. Last year, Ola had acquired loss-making food delivery platform Foodpanda from its German parent Delivery Hero.

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