Ola's new Australian managing director on how the company plans to beat Uber

Ola's new Australian managing director on how the company plans to beat Uber

The ride-sharing market in Australia is predominately dominated by Uber, but that's set to change if Simon Smith (pictured), the new Australian managing director of Ola, has his way.

Ola, an India based ride-sharing company, which launched in Australia in January, is hoping to take on Uber and Taxify the two major players in the Australian ride-share sector.

Since its launch, Ola has expanded to Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Canberra, Brisbane and the Gold Coast, and has over 40,000 driver partners registered on the platform.

With today's announcement of Smith taking on the reigns of Ola's Australian business the company is set to expand even more.

Smith is no stranger to managing new tech companies. Previously, Smith was the CEO of eBay Australia, a non-executive director at Sportsbet, the VP of virtual offices as Servcorp and a consultant at McKinsey and Company.

Business News Australia spoke to Smith about his plans to get a handle on the Australian ride-share market.

You are up against a brand goliath in Uber, so what is your strategy to bring Ola front of mind as a ride share alternative?

Ola is a community-oriented transportation platform that's driver focussed. We are finding Australian customers deeply care whether drivers are getting a fair deal and are choosing Ola because of that. Driver-partners are earning more through lower commissions and customers benefit from lower tariffs than other platforms. By enabling driver-partners to provide the best experience possible, customers in turn enjoy high-quality journeys.

Is there room for a second major player in the market?

Australia is an attractive market in that it values fair competition and we think both customers and drivers have had limited options to choose between. We've been pleasantly surprised by the response and adoption of our solution by both customers and drivers, which in many ways has exceeded our expectations. Drivers are clearly responding to having a viable ride-share platform that offers higher earnings and customers have been rapidly adopting the platform as we continue to build scale.

Why did you take on this role?

I was interested in leading a business that is community-oriented, growing quickly, has technology at the heart and a 'data for good' approach where data is used to solve problems at the core of society. Ola provides all of those in spades!

What skills do you bring from eBay?

Like eBay, Ola is a marketplace.  It is important both to focus on demand-and-supply metrics and to keep front of mind the everyday experience of our consumers and entrepreneur service providers. 

What do you see as the major challenges ahead for Ola?

Ola is exploring opportunities with local governments and communities around Australia, to invest in smarter transport infrastructure and unlock the unique mobility needs of Australians to build high-quality rides, with affordable prices and enjoyable experiences.

What are the advantages of being the new kid on the block?

We like to view ourselves as the disruptors of Australian ridesharing, by offering the lowest commission rate in the country of 7.5%, giving driver-partners higher earnings and in turn creating happier riders. We're also focused on community initiatives like town hall-style meetings with our driver-partners and other unique initiatives, which has seen word spreading among the industry that we're a better transportation platform.

Never miss a news update, subscribe here. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.

Business News Australia

Enjoyed this article?

Don't miss out on the knowledge and insights to be gained from our daily news and features.

Subscribe today to unlock unlimited access to in-depth business coverage, expert analysis, and exclusive content across all devices.

Support independent journalism and stay informed with stories that matter to you.

Subscribe now and get 50% off your first year!

Four time-saving tips for automating your investment portfolio
Partner Content
In today's fast-paced investment landscape, time is a valuable commodity. Fortunately, w...
Etoro
Advertisement

Related Stories

Ocean Guardian administrator in talks with "several parties" to secure its future

Ocean Guardian administrator in talks with "several parties" to secure its future

After two withdrawn initial public offering (IPO) attempts in 2018 ...

Westpac breached Banking Code of Practice in NT branch closure, putting vulnerable customers at risk

Westpac breached Banking Code of Practice in NT branch closure, putting vulnerable customers at risk

The independent body tasked with keeping bank behaviour in check ha...

Cyber security consultancy CSO Group to merge with AI enabler xAmplify

Cyber security consultancy CSO Group to merge with AI enabler xAmplify

Sydney-based cyber security consultancy CSO Group is set to join fo...

Julian Assange will be freed after striking plea deal with US authorities

Julian Assange will be freed after striking plea deal with US authorities

Julian Assange has reached a deal with the United States Department...