Ridesharing

Ola Ride-Hailing Startup To Build Silicon Valley Tech Center

Indian ride-hailing startup Ola, which is backed by SoftBank Group, is planning to build a technology center in Silicon Valley — right near rival Uber.

Bloomberg reported that Ola will hire more than 150 engineers for the tech center, which will focus on research into areas from electric cars to autonomous vehicles and artificial intelligence. The company aims to hire “world-class talent who will collaborate closely with global teams” in fields such as machine learning and data sciences.

Founded in 2011, Ola is making its first entry into the United States. The company currently operates in 150 cities — more than 100 of them in India alone — serving a billion rides annually. It has also recently expanded to Australia, New Zealand and the U.K.

Back in March Ola announced a strategic partnership with Hyundai Motor Group where Hyundai and Kia Motors Corp. will invest $300 million. Under the agreement, the three companies will work together on developing a fleet of vehicles and smart mobility solutions. In addition, they will build India-specific electric vehicles and infrastructure, while nurturing best-in-class opportunities and offerings for drive partners with customized vehicles on the Ola platform.

“India is the centerpiece of Hyundai Motor Group’s strategy to gain leadership in the global mobility market, and our partnership with Ola will certainly accelerate our efforts to transform into a smart mobility solutions provider,” Chung Eui-sun, executive vice chairman of Hyundai Motor Group, said at the time. “Hyundai will proactively respond to market changes and persistently innovate to deliver greater value to our customers.”

And last month Ola teamed up with SBI Bank in India and Visa to launch a credit card. The credit card, which is being called Ola Money-SBI Credit Card, provides users with discounts on rides in an effort to maintain its loyal customer base.

Rewards can be used for Ola rides, flights and hotel bookings. The company is offering 7 percent cash back on cab purchases, 5 percent cash back on flights and 20 percent on domestic hotel bookings. Users also get 20 percent rewards on more than 6,000 restaurants. All other purchases get 1 percent cash back.

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