One of the few overseas success stories to have emerged from India’s chaotic start-up ecosystem so far, Ola Cabs has been on a steady expansion spree beyond the country’s shores. Now, even as murmurs of an IPO being planned within the next two years leap from ear-to-ear, the company has announced another large-scale expansion overseas. Albeit in markets it has already forayed into.
Over the past week, Ola has not only revealed that it would be making an entry into the lucrative London market of the UK, it has followed up that announcement with similar plans for the Australia and New Zealand markets too.
According to Ola’s officials in the ANZ (Australia-New Zealand) regions, the company intends to increase its presence in New Zealand four-fold by adding 11 more locations in the country to its service area by the end of the current month. In Australia too, the cab aggregator will add another 11 locations, expanding its service area to all major state capitals in the country.
Ola’s New Zealand country manager Brian Dewil noted in a statement the firm has been growing at a significant pace in the country, and achieving scale has been a long time goal. Extending its services to the regions and achieving scale throughout the country has always been part of the company’s long-term growth strategy, he further said.
“Ola has already signed up 9,000 drivers in New Zealand,” Dewil said, adding that in its most recent expansion drive, it will take its operations beyond the three cities it currently operates in: Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington. New cities added to Ola’s service area by Christmas this year will be Hamilton, Dunedin, Palmerston North, Tauranga, Queenstown, Nelson, New Plymouth, Napier, Rotorua, Taupo and Hastings.
In Australia, Ola already operates in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, Adelaide, Perth and Canberra. It will now begin rolling out in Newcastle, the New South Wales Central Coast, Ballarat, Bendigo and Toowoomba before Christmas this year. The company will then go on to launch services in Tasmania, the Northern Territory, Hobart, Darwin, Wollongong, Townsville, Cairns and Mackay over the course of the next few months.
“We want to offer more people the opportunity to make money on their own schedule — whether it’s driving during weekend and evening peaks, or during seasonal periods,” said Simon Smith, managing director, Ola, Australia and New Zealand.
Ola is also giving drivers in the two countries introductory commission offers. Drivers who sign on to its platform in New Zealand by New Year’s Eve are being given an introductory commission offer of nine per cent, while those who do so in Australia are being offered 7.5 per cent.
Financials get better in FY19
The company has also managed to significantly improve its financials over the previous financial year, as its filings with the Registrar of Companies show. Holding firm ANI Technologies narrowed its standalone losses in FY19 to D1,160.27 crore from D2,676.70 crore in the last financial year. Meanwhile, total income rose close to 16 per cent to D2,155.21 crore in FY19 from D1,860.61 crore in the previous fiscal.