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Ola Cabs, TaxiForSure have an interesting game plan for future

By Itika Sharma Punit
February 11, 2015 12:36 IST
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Ahead of the likely acquisition of online taxi aggregator TaxiForSure by larger competitor Ola Cabs, technology teams of the two Bengaluru-based companies are learnt to be evaluating ways in which the two platforms can be integrated, sources said.

The term sheet for the deal had not been signed until last week but sources said the agreement was “more or less done”.

So, the companies want to be prepared for swift integration once the move is formalised.

The acquisition is likely to be announced by the end of this month, multiple sources have said.

“The two companies need to look at technology integration at several levels, starting from migrating consumers from one app to the other, and then migrating drivers and wallets,” said another source.

“While Ola Cabs' platform is superior to that of TaxiForSure, the combined platform might pick some technologies of the latter.”

IN A NUTSHELL

The acquisition is likely to be announced by the end of this month, multiple sources have said Sources had earlier said TaxiForSure had an acquisition offer from both its competitors, Uber and Ola Cabs Ola Cabs and TaxiForSure did not respond to a query on the matter.

An Ola Cabs spokesperson refused to comment.

Sources had earlier said TaxiForSure had an acquisition offer from both its competitors, Uber and Ola Cabs.

In an interview with Business Standard a few days earlier, TaxiForSure’s co-founder and chief executive, Raghunandan G, had said “there are several options on the table”, but did not rule out an acquisition. The three companies had started interacting about finding solutions to regulatory hurdles a few months earlier.

According to people in the know, these discussions started moving towards some likely consolidation in the sector.

“We have been engaging with Ola Cabs and Uber for finding solutions to the regulatory issues all of us are facing. When three people get together, there are lots of discussions.

All I can say right now is that there is nothing concrete,” Raghunandan had said in the interview.

“We are in the middle of a fund-raising, and there are multiple options. We have not finalised one. Our conversation with Ola Cabs and Uber is about regulatory issues and not necessarily about consolidation in the industry. I think in a month or so, we will have clarity.”

A few experts, who did not wish to be named, said the two companies might not need to spend too much effort on integrating their business, as they are both in the same space and their businesses more or less alike.

“The one thing that will need investment when it comes to technology is that the scale of the combined entity will be much bigger and the companies would want to be prepared for that,” an expert said, requesting anonymity.

On Monday, Ola Cabs had said it had brought on board Sunit Singh, former design head of Cleartrip, as its vice-president for design.

Singh is considered to be one of the best design experts in India and might be instrumental if Ola builds an app with the scale to integrate TaxiForSure's users and drivers. Redundancy in human resources and differences in work culture, two key areas for any acquisition to work, are also perhaps in the focus for Ola.

Beside Singh, Ola Cabs announced the recruitment of Yugantar Saikia, a former senior executive of California-based software company FICO, as its vice-president for human resources.

With 16 years of experience, Saikia has earlier worked at American Express and Ernst & Young. He has led India operations for FICO, where he managed large mergers and acquisitions' integration.

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Itika Sharma Punit
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