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Ola acqui-hires AI startup Pikup.ai to beef up deep-tech skills
Photo Credit: Reuters

Ride-hailing company Ola said on Tuesday it has acqui-hired Pikup.ai, an artificial intelligence-based platform that provides technological solutions to businesses.

Ola, operated by ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd, said in a statement the move will help it enhance its AI-focused strategy, including investments in early-stage businesses and acquisitions.

“We look forward to co-creating innovative technology that will help redefine the mobility experience in the times to come,” said Ankit Bhati, co-founder and chief technology officer at Ola.

Ola didn’t disclose financial terms of the deal.

Pikup co-founder Inder Singh said the startup’s team was looking forward to joining Ola and contributing to its strategy.

Bengaluru-based Pikup.ai uses technologies such as AI, computer vision and sensor fusion to provide seamless AI-powered solutions for businesses.

Ola has snapped up a handful of startups over the past few years as part of efforts to provide transport solutions and to capture a greater share of India’s mobility market.

Last year, the company acquired public-transport ticketing app Ridlr. In 2016, Ola had bought Chennai-based Qarth Technologies Pvt. Ltd, an IIT-Madras incubated mobile payments startup. The year before, it had taken over trip-planning app Geotagg.

Ola’s most ambitious purchase was in late 2017 when it acquired the Indian business of food delivery platform Foodpanda.

The ride-hailing company has also been raising massive amounts of capital from investors to power its growth and compete with rival Uber Technologies Inc.

In March, Ola raised $300 million (Rs 2,050 crore) from South Korean automakers Hyundai Motor Co and Kia Motors Corp. A month before that, Ola raised Rs 112 crore ($15.6 million) from a clutch of new foreign investors including Raymond S Cahnman, chairman of trading firm TransMarket Group; New York-based philanthropists Tina and Steven Price; J3T Ventures; and investment firm Lyon Assets.

The company’s electric mobility arm has also raised capital. Last month, it raised 1,725 crore ($250 million) from Japanese investor SoftBank in a Series B funding round. That fundraising came barely four months after Ola Electric mopped up Rs 400 crore from investors including New York-based Tiger Global Management and venture capital firm Matrix Partners India. In May, Tata Sons chairman emeritus Ratan Tata had invested an undisclosed amount in Ola Electric.

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