Have you ever traveled by Ola Cab? It is the largest cab aggregator in India with a market share of about 60 per cent. It was started in 2010 by two engineers from IIT Bombay.
Today, the company is valued at 30 330 million, or about Rs 24,000 crore. Bookings for the brand Ola electric scooter have been in the headlines since July 15. Ola’s journey is almost 11 years old. Bhavish Aggarwal is the founder of Ola. Bhavish did his BTech from IIT Bombay in 2008. After college, he worked at Microsoft Research for two years. Bhavish then launched an online website, Olatrip.com, which plans holiday packages and weekend trips.
One day Bhavish booked a taxi from Bangalore to Bandipur. On the way, the taxi driver asked for more fare. When Bhavish refused, the driver dropped him in the middle. This difficulty made Bhavish think and realize that millions of people would face such a problem. Bhavish then decided to turn his travel website into a cab service. He shared this view with Ankit Bhati of IIT Bombay. Together, they launched Ola Cabs on December 3, 2010.
Initially, Bhavish’s parents did not agree with him. He said that after graduating from IIT, he would become a ‘travel agent’! But investors liked the idea. Ola received first-round funding from Snapdeal founders Kunal Behl, Rehan Yar Khan and Anupam Mittal. This was followed by the funding process. So far, Ola has received 26 rounds of funding from 48 investors worth 4 4.3 billion, or about Rs 32,000 crore. The latest fund of Rs 3,700 crore was received on July 9, 2021 from a private equity.
Bhavish Aggarwal says investors want three things. Clear vision, sustainable business model and action plan. A startup that has these things will never run out of funds. The years 2011 to 2014 were a time of struggle for Ola. There were not many people, not much money. At that time Bhavish himself was campaigning. At times, he even became a driver himself. The period from 2014 to 2017 was the scaling period. Competitors were investing. Ola also found investors and started pouring money. At this stage, the emphasis was only on increasing the scale of business. It was a time of consolidation that began after 2017. In it, Ola built a better organizational structure. Focused on earnings and profits.
Bhavish believes that India’s new generation does not want to buy a car, but wants to experience it. He moved forward with this clear vision. In the first 7 years, they spent investors’ money only on increasing the scale of the business. Increased drivers by giving more incentives and increasing customers by giving discounts. When Ola Cab became a necessity, he thought of making money from it. Ola only provides cab booking service. The company does not have a car. Through the app, it connects customers to cabs and drivers. The company charges a 15 per cent fare commission on all bookings made on the app.
Apart from India, Ola has launched its cab service in Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Bhavish Aggarwal says that we have built a sustainable business model in India. Now we want to take it to the global level. The company’s second focus is on making the environment environmentally friendly. Bhavish says most of India’s population drives two-wheelers or three-wheelers. If it is made electric, it will have a big effect. We want to see one million electric vehicles on the road in the next few years.
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Ola directly competes with Uber, a major US company. Uber is valued at 82 82 billion, 25 times more than Ola. In addition, other competitors in India include Meru Cab, Zumkar and Rapido. Ola has so far acquired a total of 6. These include taxi for sure, geotag, quarth, foodpanda, ridler and pickup.
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