India’s Ola to Acquire Neo Bank Avail


Indian ride-hailing platform Ola is set to acquire Avail Finance, a neo-bank founded by the brother of Ola’s co-founder.

As New Indian Express reported Friday (March 25), the deal, which is still subject to approval from shareholders, will help Ola Financial Services, a subsidiary of Ola, bolster its lending services and gain a foothold offering financial services to India’s underserved blue collar workers.

Terms of the deal were not released.

Founded by Ankush Aggarwal and Tushar Mehndiratta in 2017, Avail has more than six million members. Aggarwal’s brother Bhavish founded Ola in 2011  with his Indian Institute of Technology classmate Ankit Bhati and serves as the company’s chairman and chief executive.

“With this expansion, Ola will be able to cross-sell multiple lending products to its large driver-partner base; providing them a one-stop destination for all their financial needs,” the firm said in a statement.

Ola recently invested $104 million in its financial services business. Ola Postpaid, its BNPL offering, is available to 40 million customers. Ola said its vehicle financing program is growing rapidly in conjunction with its auto businesses Ola Electric as well as Ola Cars.

Learn more: India’s Ola Plans 500 Quick Commerce Dark Stores

In January, Ola announced it had rebranded its quick commerce business to “Ola Dash” in preparation for the launch of what will be the largest collection of “dark stores” in the country.

The company — once known as “Ola Store” — will open 500 dark stores, a term that refers to warehouses with no retail storefronts, in 20 Indian cities in the first half of the year.

Read more: Indian Ride-Hailing App Ola Nets $500M

The service is already available in a number of cities already, with Ola operating more than 20 dark stores and 2,500 stock keeping units.

Last year, the company raised $500 million in anticipation of an initial public offering that could come sometime in the first half of 2022.