India’s largest cab-hailing firm Ola has acquired Mumbai-based Ridlr, an end-to-end public transport ticketing and commuting app, in an all-stock deal at an undisclosed valuation. Ridlr provides real-time public transport and traffic information across 24+ Indian cities, serving an engaged community of over 2M users. Partner agencies for Ridlr include BEST, NMMT and MMRC.The deal marks Ola’s expansion as a broader transportation company as it gets into public transport as well.
With acquisition of Ridlr, Ola is looking at building a seamless experience for commuters who use its service in conjunction with transit services such as buses, trains, and metro. The motive is to allow a customer to book a cab from their homes and continue their journey effortlessly even if they switch to a public transport service.
Livemint, which had first reported of a possible merger last month said that it was a distress sale.
“Public transportation serves millions of Indians every day, and powering these needs with real-time information, mobile ticketing, cashless payments, and reliable services is bound to impact their end experience. The challenge really is to make the entire ecosystem inclusive and robust for all. Ridlr, in a short span has made huge strides in this space,” said Bhavish Aggarwal, CEO of Ola.
The above development was first reported in Economic Times.
Ridlr is the second major acquisition by Ola after buying Foodpanda for approximately $40-50 million in December 2017. According to the sources, Ola is looking to buy more startups at fire-sale prices. The push for Ola to acquire Ridlr also comes from the fact that the two companies share Matrix Partners as a common investor. In October 2015, Ola had hired Nimish Joshi, a former executive at advertising tech firm InMobi, to lead its M&A team.
Founded in 2010, Ridlr is the brainchild of the founders of once-popular traffic app Traffline — Brijraj Vaghani and Ravi Khemani. Ridlr had raised about $6 million from investors like Matrix Partners India and Times Internet in July 2016 and since then it never raised any funds as investors are seen to have lost confidence after the entry of Google in this space. Notably, Google already lists schedules and routes of public transport in a number of Indian cities and last year even began offering live-tracking of buses. We interviewed the founders back in 2014.
Post acquisition, Ridlr’s team of 64 employees will join Ola, along with Brijraj Vaghani, founder of Ridlr continuing to lead operations for the company. Besides its partnership with BEST, the company has also partnered with Delhi and Mumbai metro and is working on pilots in other cities.
It is to be noted that within last 48-hours or so this is second major acquisition in India, as Gurgaon headquartered clean energy company ReNew Power acquired Ostro Energy Private Limited to create the country’s largest clean energy firm by installed capacity. The acquisition is biggest ever deal in the Indian renewable energy sector.