OlaCabs, popularly known as ola, is a popular mobile app for personal transportation in India. Ola started as an online cab aggregator in Mumbai, now based out of Bangalore and is among the fastest growing businesses in India. Taxi booking facility can be availed through app, website.

It was founded on 3 December 2010 by Bhavish Aggarwal (currently CEO) and Ankit Bhati. By 2014, the company has expanded to a network of more than 200,000 cars across 100 cities. In November 2014, Ola expanded to incorporate autos on-trial basis in Bengaluru. Post the trial phase, Ola Auto expanded to other cities like Delhi, Pune and Chennai starting December 2014.

The Begining…

  • Bhavish Agarwal (B. Tech in Computer Science from IIT, Bombay) worked with Microsoft research at bangalore for nearly 2 years, then he started an online holiday and tour planning service in side, before coming up with the idea of setting up Ola Cabs.
  • Ankit Bhati (Dual Degree(M.Tech+B.Tech) from IIT Bombay) worked in number of start ups including QED42, Makesense and Wilcom, before joining OlaCabs.

The Journey…

While trying to keep his holiday and tour planning business afloat, Bhavish had to travel from Bangalore to Bandipur, for which he rented out a car, which ended in a very bad experience. The driver stopped the car in the middle of the journey and demanded a renegotiation of what Bhavish was paying. After being refused, he proceeded to abandon him enroute his destination. This is when he realized how his plight was probably similar to a lot of customers across the country who were looking for a quality cab service but end up spoiling the travel experience due to unreasonable drivers and agencies providing the same. For the first time, he saw the amount of potential that an extraordinary cab booking service could have, and hence, he changed his business from his earlier start-up to the one we today know as – OlaCabs. This was in December 2010, where he was joined by his co-founder Ankit Bhati in his start-up journey.

Instead of buying and renting out their own cars, OlaCabs partnered with a number of Taxi Drivers, and added a touch of modern technology to the whole set up, where people could book cars at short notice through their call centers and from their app. The bookings allowed half/full day rental and even outstation taxis. They now have almost 4,000,000 cabs across the country,offering variety of car options – Mini, Prime, Luxury – which can be paid for through on of the different modes available.

Fundings…

OlaCabs has raised funds from SoftBank Corp, and other investors during two rounds of VC finding. It raised $330k in its initial round of funding on April 21, 2011. The company received Series A funding of $5 million from Tiger Global Management; Series B funding of USD 20 million from Matrix Partners and Tiger Global; Series C funding of $41.5 million from Steadview Capital, Sequoia Capital and its existing investors. In Series D round of funding on Oct 25, 2014, it raised $210 million from SoftBank Internet and Media Inc. and its existing investors.On April 9, 2015 – OLACabs raised $400 million in series D funding from SoftBank, ABG Capital, Accel Partners, Mauritius Investments, Tiger Global Management & two other investors. The newest funding rounds have been led by DST Global which has pumped about $40mn in Olacabs at a valuation of $3.5bn.

Ola all the way…

Ola provides different types of cab service ranging from economic to luxury travel. The cabs can be reserved through a web browser or a mobile app. This cab service supports both cash and cashless payment options with Ola money. It claims to clock an average of more than 150,000 bookings per day and commands 60 percent of the market share in India. They also recently came up with the plan of ‘charging lesser than an average autorickshaw’ by offering cabs at ridiculously cheap prices of Rs.10/km. Not only this, OlaCabs has now ventured into collaborating with autos, with the launch of OlaAuto. OlaCabs bought TaxiForSure or TFS on 1 March 2015,for about $200 million. From the 25th of June 2015, Ola users have gained access to TFS cabs via the Ola mobile application.

Long road ahead…

The journey for Ola has just begun. There is a long road ahead for this Start Up and there are better and brighter days ahead. Because as some wise man once said,”The Road goes ever on and on,Down from the door where it began…. “

About Author

Shivani Pandita

Shivani is an avid reader and loves to pen down her thoughts on paper in the most creative ways. She is more on the eccentric side, but it is this obscurity and uniqueness that makes her stand out. She has a passion for photography, travel and music. She strikes a thorough balance between intelligence and creativity and has a solution oriented approach to any problem at hand.

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