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Ola set to acquire Avail Finance to double down on financial services

The mobility giant Ola has reached an agreement to acquire Avail Finance, India’s first neobank that provides financial services to the blue-collared workforce and has over six million users. The company stated the acquisition is a key step in Ola’s broader push into the fintech space as it looks to build a mobility focused financial services business under Ola Financial.

With this acquisition, Ola Financial Services aims to further strengthen its play in the credit underserved segments that comprise blue-collar workers such as Ola’s driver partner ecosystem. The deal is subject to shareholder approval.

The company stated it will be leveraging Avail Finance’s products and capabilities, which, in turn, will strengthen Ola’s lending business and help the unicorn expand into neobanking products. Ola says its fintech business will be augmented by Avail Finance’s strong leadership team which has experience in the consumer lending industry, along with a strong technical team across tech, product and design, data science and analytics, among others.

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.

Ola recently invested nearly Rs 800 crore into its financial services business that already is showing strong growth across both its lending and insurance verticals. Ola Postpaid, its BNPL (buy now, pay later) offering, is available to 40 million customers and the company says its vehicle financing business is growing rapidly in conjunction with Ola Electric as well as Ola Cars, its used cars business.

With insurance, Ola has built a first-of-its-kind embedded motor insurance product for Ola Electric and Ola Cars, where customers can seamlessly select insurance without having to buy insurance ad-hoc, and avail add-ons like roadside assistance or zero depreciation. 

Recently, Ola Electric announced an investment in Israeli battery technology company StoreDot, a pioneer in batteries with extreme fast charging (XFC) technology. The investment marked the first of several global strategic investments planned by Ola Electric as it looks to ramp up its core R&D in advanced cell chemistry and manufacturing, as well as other battery technologies along with new energy systems.

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