Cab Hailing Service, Ola running under ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd, is piloting a car rental service on an hourly basis, in a departure from its business of point-to-point travel.
“Need a car on a standby to take you around? Now rent a cab on an hourly package with the all new Rentals. Available for local travel in select cities,” said an update on Ola’s Google Play page.
Cab Hailing Service Ola was founded by Bhavish Aggarwal (B.Tech in Computer Science and Engineering from IIT Bombay in 2008 and worked at Microsoft Research for 2 years after that) and Ankit Bhati (joined IIT Bombay in 2004 for Btech in Mechanical Engg and MTech in CAD and Automation.
Cab Hailing Service Ola valued at USD $5 billion, and Uber, the world’s most valuable start-up, worth $68 billion, specialize in intra-city travel, picking and dropping customers from and to particular destinations.
Both companies have so far stayed away from offering hourly packages, which have been the forte of other start-ups such as Google Capital-backed Savaari Car Rentals and My Taxi India Pvt. Ltd, besides car rental agencies reported Livemint.
Indian unit of San Francisco-based Uber Technologies Inc.is an entirely on-demand service in India whereas in Ola customer can book a time slot for advance bookings during the day unlike Uber which does not accept pre-bookings.
Ola has also started piloting an outstation service in Delhi.
Rutvik Doshi Director at Inventus Capital Partners said, “Ola has become a large company and their core business is the on-demand cab business. A significant part of their resources will still be focused on the point-to-point drops, because that is where the volume is and that is where the real battle with Uber is.”
“I feel Ola will keep doing these experiments around shuttle, inter-city etc, because at some point in time they will have to differentiate with Uber and expand in that category. The challenge that Ola will face is that allocation of management bandwidth and focus,” he added.
Ola is also backed by Chinese Ride Hailing Service Didi Chuxing formerly Didi Kuaidi has reportedly raised a staggering USD $7.3 Billion from a host of powerful investors including Apple Inc as it completes with Uber in its home country.