Apart from improving navigation, Ridlr’s acquisition could also help Ola add intracity bus and train bookings.

Ola in talks to acquire Mumbai-based Ridlr to boost navigation tech
Atom M&A Wednesday, March 28, 2018 - 09:05
Written by  S. Mahadevan

In what is being seen as a distress sale, Ridlr, a transportation app that provides train and bus timings etc., may get taken over by cab aggregator Ola. The Bengaluru-based cab aggregator sees this as a synergistic acquisition since it plans to enhance user experience for its customers by improving the navigation technology. 

There’s no official confirmation yet on the deal and the price consideration is also not known so far.

Ridlr is run by Birds Eye Systems Pvt. Ltd and the main investors in the company include Times Internet, Matrix Partners and Qualcomm Ventures. The last tranche of investment of around $6 million was made in 2016.

Ridlr allows for booking of tickets in local public transport services like trains and buses and is available in 19 cities. It uses GPS technology to indicate the real-time status of these services. Ola may leverage on these capabilities and may add ticket booking facility also on its platform.

The last major acquisition by Ola has been Foodpanda towards the end of last year. Even here, it was a case of Ola re-entering the food delivery business it had come out of (Ola Café). The deal was worth $40 to $50 million. Three years ago, Ola had taken over a junior rival in the cab hailing business, TaxiForSure.

Ola’s major rivalry is with Uber and it has even taken the fight even overseas. Ola has launched its services in Australia and is offering down to earth packages to drivers to gain market share. In the Indian context, the cab hailing business will be reportedly worth $7 billion annually in another 2 years and the fight for leadership is raging between the two. With Ola taking over Foodpanda and Uber getting aggressive with its Uber Eats, the rivalry has extended to the food delivery business as well.

Ola has set up a separate M&A division and funds are not going to be a bottleneck for the startup, as marquee investors, like SoftBank, Tencent and Tiger Global are already entrenched and would not hesitate to put in more.

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