India’s largest homegrown ride-hailing company is getting into vehicle rentals.
Today (Dec.18), Bengaluru-based Ola said it is investing in the dockless scooter sharing startup, Vogo. “As part of this partnership, Ola will boost Vogo’s supply by investing in 100,000 scooters on the Vogo platform, worth $100 million (around Rs700 crore),” the company said in a press release. ”This infusion will give Vogo a strategic supply advantage without having to incur significant capital expenditure.”
The announcement comes a week after Ola participated in Vogo’s $7 million Series A funding round, which also involved marquee investors like Matrix Partners India and Stellaris Venture Partners.
Founded in 2016 by Anand Ayyadurai, Padmanabhan Balakrishnan, and Sanchit Mittal, Vogo allows customers to rent scooters for short one-way trips across limited pick-up and drop-off points. Currently, the service is available in Bengaluru and Hyderabad.
“Every Vogo scooter comes with an IoT (internet of things) device that allows the customer to access the key via an OTP (one-time password); this eliminates the need for human intervention and offers consumers a seamless experience,” the press release said.
So far, Vogo boasts of over 100,000 users who have commuted for over 20 million kilometres. An average trip on the platform lasts approximately 5 km. Rides start at Rs1.20 per minute, as per Vogo’s website, and include the fuel cost.
Ola’s arch-rival Uber offers a similar two-wheeler service called Uber Moto but passengers don’t drive these scooters themselves. Instead, they ride behind a driver. In a country like India where the roads are often congested, the service saves Uber users 38% of their time compared to using other modes of transportation and is also cheaper than cars.
Vogo’s scooters will be made available on Ola’s app soon, giving the platform access to the taxi aggregator’s customer base of over 150 million users.
But there’s one technical gap that needs to be bridged: Ola riders need to prove they’re certified drivers to rent the scooters. Already, when customers sign up on Vogo, they have to upload their driving licence. Vogo has the built-in tech capabilities to check the authenticity of the document. When Ola starts offering Vogo rentals on its app, it will follow the same procedure, the company told Quartz.