Companies

Uber, Ola now in battle for corporate ride-share

Priyanka Pani Mumbai | Updated on January 09, 2018

According to experts, the next phase of growth will come from the B2B ride-hailing business that will ensure a steady revenue, unlike the consumer segment, which is more about burning cash   -  REUTERS

Revamp B2B models to ensure steady revenue

Amidst a hurricane of controversies, which forced its founder Travis Kalanick to step down, ride-sharing app Uber is now looking for new business models and revamping exsiting ones to drive growth and get profitable.

The latest in the offering is its revamped B2B model, wherein the company has added several new features that allows businesses to cut costs, improve productivity of their employees by reducing the everyday hassle of commute, including late-night rides back home from work.

The San Francisco-based company had launched the feature globally in mid-2016. This was six months after Indian cab-hailing start-up Ola ventured out to tap the growing demand from corporates with Ola Corporate. Ola has since gained substantial market share in the segment, as per industry sources. Uber had launched the service in India in end of December 2016. However, the revamped version has more features, such as monthly billing and reporting.

Uber’s focus is to take on SoftBank-backed Ola, which has been aggressively launching new features and services to gain a dominant position in the cab-hailing segment. Ola, which has a first-mover advantage in the segment, already counts big corporates such as Airtel, L&T, Reliance Industries, ADAG and Godrej as its clients.

Ola is also set to launch some additional features, including guest booking and a travel desk that allows corporate admin to book rides centrally for all employees, according to sources. Ola did not comment on its new feature launch, neither did it comment on the growth numbers for Ola Corporate.

According to a Uber spokesperson, the B2B product has been growing at an “incredible” pace, tripling its customer base globally over the past year. The company did not give India-specific numbers.

The next big thing

According to experts, the next phase of growth will come from the B2B business that will ensure a steady revenue, unlike the consumer segment, which is more about burning cash to acquire customers. Even though both Ola and Uber have lately reduced their discounts and driver incentives in the B2C segment, the companies are yet to see any profits.

Uber in India has been lagging behind Ola in terms of geographies captured and driver partnerships. According to sources, Ola’s driver-partners are almost double that of Uber, and it is present in over 110 cities compared with a mere 29 cities for Uber. Ola claims to have a 60-70 per cent market share in the B2C segment in the country.

Published on August 17, 2017

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