Indian taxi firm Ola to challenge Uber in London

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Indian ride-sharing startup Ola is set to launch in London, in a challenge to the dominance of Uber.

Ola is already Uber’s biggest competitor in India, and now it has announced that it is coming to the UK capital following launches in Cardiff, Bath, Bristol, and Exeter.

Ola raised $300 million from Hyundai Motor Group in March, at a valuation of around $6 billion. It is also backed by VC heavy-hitters including Softbank.

The firm says it has a network of more than 10 million vehicles. In addition to its UK cities and India, it currently operates in Australia and New Zealand.

The London ride-sharing market is strongly dominated by Uber, but the transport giant has been buffeted by a series of challenges in recent months.

Last year its future in the capital was in jeopardy following a challenge to its operating licence by TfL. In June it received a probationary extension, but the company is under close scrutiny from transport bosses and the courts.

Meanwhile competition is growing from competitors such as ViaVan, which offers cheap rides in central areas of London.

Commenting on Ola’s launch in London, the firm’s UK managing director Ben Legg said: “London is the most complex [market] in terms of regulation and it’s got more competition for drivers.

“That’s why we wanted to work our way up, adding a little bit more scale and complexity with each city instead of doing London first.”

A date for Ola’s London debut is yet to be announced.

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