India’s Ola Takes A Leaf Out Of Uber’s Book With New Grocery-Delivery Service

Ola, the Alibaba and SoftBank-backed Uber rival in India, has continued to diversify its business after it launched a grocery delivery service.

Initially available in Bangalore, ‘Ola Store’ allows customers to buy a range of 12,000 products across 13 categories, from fruit and vegetables, to eggs and dairy, frozen goods, baby items and more. The service is initially on Android — iOS is “coming soon” — and users can select a delivery time between 9am and 10pm, or on-demand within an hour. It’s pretty much like a couple of services Uber has tested (remember Corner Store or Uber Essentials?) though the U.S. firm is preparing to introduce a larger network for merchant delivery, as we reported in April.

We reached out to Ola for further comment on Store, but the company did not reply.

This move into groceries comes just four months after the company introduced a food ordering service. Ola raised a $400 million Series E round led by DST Global in April, and, in addition to expanding its scope of services, it is pushing geographical expansions. The company expects that Ola and TaxiForSure — the competitor that it acquired for $200 million earlier this year — will be in 200 cities by the end of this year.

In contrast, Uber is yet to launch any experimental services in India. The company spent the first part of this year grappling with the repercussions of the alleged rape of a passenger, but it has since focused on building out its core business. It has expanded into seven new cities to take it to 18 overall (India is now its second largest market behind the U.S.), added new safety features and more stringent driver vetting, and is investing $50 million in a support center in Hyderabad in partnership with local authorities.

Hat tip Economic Times