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Ola has today announced the public release of its API, allowing major mobile applications as well as individual developers, to integrate Ola’s offering onto their platforms. This would include integrations across ride availability, estimation, booking and tracking, allowing partners to their experience for their users with Ola.

The company has partnered with the likes of Samsung, MakeMyTrip, InMobi, and Helpchat, who have integrated Ola’s API and demonstrated their applications at an unveiling today in Bangalore, as part of Ola’s first API Hackathon. For instance, its partnership with Oyo rooms will enable Oyo customers to book a cab with Ola. With Samsung, the integration will happen on its new platform. With InMobi, one would be able to book a Ola cab as the app would advertise cab booking on its portal. Similarly, with Helpchat, one can book an Ola cab over chat. The company also partnered with LensKart and Saavn for Ola Money.

This would allow for Ola to go beyond the app in reaching out to more users from partner brands, giving them the benefit of a seamless experience in terms of personal transportation. The company aims to reach a user base of over a 100 Mn from its API partners over the next 2 years. Many more mobile apps and technology brands are also working on integrating Ola’s API. The APIs are also expected to evolve rapidly, allowing for integrations across Ola Money and newer categories and use cases available on the Ola app.

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Ankit Bhati, CTO and Co-founder at Ola said, “The public release of our API to developers is a giant leap in collaborative technology. Our technology has helped in enabling mobility for millions of users, across use cases in over a 100 cities. With this step, we would open up access to many more millions of users from our partners, offering them a seamless mobility experience. We are excited about welcoming thousands of developers across the country to work with us to build mobility for a billion people.”

Ola’s hackathon being conducted today aims to challenge experienced professionals and startup enthusiasts to come up with innovative products that will use Ola’s API to solve a real pain point for users. This could range from solutions as simple, yet powerful, as a real-time availability check across categories to booking a cab seamlessly at a specified time using Ola’s API. About 250 people were shortlisted to participate from about 1,500-2000 registrations received.

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While this will give brands and developers, an opportunity to leverage Ola’s API on their own applications and solutions seamlessly, there will also be cash prizes to be won to the tune of $6,000( INR 400k) along with AWS credits of up to $2,000.

The move follows a number of steps the taxi-hailing app is taking this year to increase its stronghold over the market in comparison to its rival Uber. Last week, the company introduced a new feature called ‘Number Masking’ that makes customer’s mobile number to remain undisclosed to drivers. The company has also committed to allocate $20 Mn for safety initiatives over this year. Also, Ola unleashed yet another weapon against its rival, Uber this month by announcing the launch of Ola Shuttle – a service to offer shuttle bus service to urban commuters.

Reports have also surfaced that Alibaba-backed Didi Kuaidi might invest in Ola and provide it with the arsenal to take down its cash-rich rival Uber. This is in addition to the $225 Mn it raised this month, led by existing investor Falcon Edge Capital along with Tiger Global Management LLC, Softbank and six other investors. The company has also tripled size of tech employees, with the team growing from 300 to 1,000 in one year.


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