Ola, the largest ridesharing service in India, is reportedly considering expanding to Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh. The rumor comes courtesy of a number of anonymous sources who claim to have insider knowledge of the plans. Ola recently added international phone number support to its official app, which means that the expansion may be coming very soon. The expansion could even reach into other nations outside of India's immediate neighbors, though aside from the consideration of Asia and North Africa, there was no mention of exactly where else Ola may be looking into. The timeline of the expansion was also not mentioned by the sources that came forward, and Ola did not comment on the situation.
Ola's alleged push for the international operation would see the company staying close to home, rather than venturing out into bigger and further markets like Europe and the Americas. This likely means that any further expansion beyond current rumored plans could be a gradual movement outward geographically. Radio silence from Ola on the matter leaves industry watchers to guess at where the company may go next, and when. For now, Ola is still looking into expanding into more cities within India, though sources said earlier in the year that the company has been researching the requirements for expansion into other countries, such as converting international currencies, compliance with applicable laws, and linking the service and app to carrier SMS in other countries.
Ola has reportedly been researching an expansion outside of India for some time, but until now, no details on the matter have surfaced, rumored or otherwise. If this is true, then the funding that Ola received from Softbank last year may have been the catalyst for this move. The firm received somewhere around $300 million from Softbank during a funding round that saw it eventually raise about $500 million, with the goal being to stay one step ahead of Uber. While internal troubles and an ongoing legal battle with Google's Waymo may be hampering Uber, the company still outsizes Ola many times over for the time being. Despite this, Ola currently has the crown in its home country, where it operates in over 100 cities, and is a larger operation within India than Uber.