Ola in talks to buy Ridlr in bid to improve navigation technology

Bengaluru: Cab hailing firm Ola is in talks to buy transportation app Ridlr, as the company seeks to improve its navigation technology and potentially expand the range of its services, two people familiar with the matter said.

Mint couldn’t ascertain the proposed price of the Ridlr acquisition, but the two people cited above said it will be a distress sale. They spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Ridlr (Birds Eye Systems Pvt. Ltd) last raised capital in July 2016 when Times Internet, Matrix Partners—which is also a key investor in Ola—and Qualcomm Ventures invested $6 million into the company.

The company provides data on bus and train routes and prices in 19 cities and allows users to book tickets for public transportation services. It also provides real-time traffic information. Ridlr’s acquisition will help Ola improve its navigation technology and could see the company add intracity bus and train bookings.

Ola and Ridlr didn’t respond to emails seeking comment.

Unlike some other unicorns such as Flipkart, Paytm (One97 Communications Ltd) and Quikr, Ola (ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd) has not been a prolific buyer. But of late, Ola has increased its acquisition activity. In December, the company spent $40-50 million to buy food ordering app Foodpanda from its German parent Delivery Hero AG to re-enter the food delivery business.

Ola had earlier shut down its food business called Ola Cafe in 2016 after it failed to expand significantly.

Ola had earlier also bought smaller rival TaxiForSure for $200 million in March 2015.

One of the people cited above said that Ola is looking to buy more start-ups at firesale prices. In October 2015, Ola had hired Nimish Joshi, a former executive at advertising tech firm InMobi, to lead its M&A team.

Ola and Uber are battling for India’s rapidly expanding cab hailing market that may touch $7 billion by 2020, according to SoftBank Group, Ola’s largest shareholder. The two companies are also trying to win a larger share of the food ordering business.

Since starting out in 2010, Ola has raised roughly $2.5 billion in capital from SoftBank, Tiger Global, DST Global, Matrix and others.

It last received $1.1 billion mostly from SoftBank and Tencent last year, and said it is looking for $1 billion more.livemint


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