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    Categories: StartupStory

Indian Startup Sucess Story: OLA

Ola story

Introduction

Ola(ANI technologies) previously known as Ola Cabs was started in Dec 2010 by 2 IIT Bombay graduates. Ola serves as an efficient taxi aggregator and bridge the gap between cab owners and commuters. Instead of buying and renting out their own cars, Ola partners with a number of taxi drivers and owners, add a touch of modern technology to the whole set up, where people could book cars at short notice through their app.

In Spanish, Hola translates to ‘Hello’ hence the name Ola probably to indicate that their services are as easy and friendly as that, just like saying a ‘hello’.

Ola is India’s largest ride-hailing app with about 60% market share in India.

OLA – The market

India’s taxi hailing market is valued at more than $10Bn.

OLA -Founders

Bhavish graduated from IIT Bombay with a B. Tech in Computer Science in the year 2008. Bhavish has worked for Microsoft research, Bangalore for two years right after college. There, he passed two years with filing 2 patents and 3 research publishing in international journals. While trying to chase his dream of entrepreneurship, he started an online company to sell short duration tours and holidays online before changing that into OlaCabs.

Ankit Bhati heads the technical aspects of Olacabs, ensuring a quick, convenient and instinctive experience for our customers and partners. He joined IIT Bombay in 2004 for Btech in Mechanical Engg and MTech in CAD and Automation. By 2009 he had already worked on several freelance projects and startups like Wilcom, QED42 etc. and finally decided to give up his nomadic professional life for a start-up of his own. He joined the Olacabs journey in November 2010.

OLA – Starting Up

Born in Ludhiana, Bhavish just like every other success-driven and successful entrepreneur,  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 en route 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,

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, he was joined by his co-founder Ankit Bhati in his start-up journey. His parents didn’t agree with his idea in the beginning of course, like all Indian Parents won’t. They were thoroughly displeased with his decision to become a ‘travel agent’, but when But nevertheless, their support increased as they got their first round of angel investment (from Snapdeal founder Kunal Bahl, Rehan yar Khan and Anupam Mittal.

Bhavish believed that anyone can have a good business idea but to function it successfully one must a scalable model upon which the business runs. According to him, the best or one of the best & safest model one can or should adopt is running a business with owning “zero” inventory.

OLA – Initial Team

After the idea, the design and vision were done by  Usha Loutongbam, product manager and Bhavish himself.

As for the developers who converted these ideas into reality:

The first version for Android was built by Ajinkya Potdar and for iOS by Khushal Bokadey. Both of them joined the company for two months of internship and did an excellent job rolling out the release in real quick time. After that the iOS app was taken over by atul manwar, android by Ankit Kumar and backend apis by Neeti Birla. The main focus of the new releases is to make the app feature rich while constantly improving the user experience and yet not losing the essence of one touch cab booking.

OLA – Product

Over the last one year, Ola has been expanding its range of services —offering a range of ride options from budget to luxury, subscription deals, and more recently in-cab entertainment — to outmatch Uber on strategies beyond pricing.

OLA – Business Model

The business model works on a very simple concept. OLA acts as a facilitator in providing cab-booking services. Customers can book their cabs through the app. OLA does not own any of the cabs. Only those drivers with valid permits duly authorized and verified by transport authorities can sign up with OLA and they could be either self-employed or work for an operator who owns multiple cars.

Just like how we use an OLA App, the drivers get access to a driver mobile app on their Smartphone once they register with OLA. This is done only after a thorough check of authenticity and conducting due diligence of commercial papers and personal papers of driver and operator. The drivers have flexibility to decide their own time to login to OLA Application and accept requests for rides from customers. They may choose to remain logged out of the system as per their convenience.

Ola takes a commission of about 15% on all the booking done through the app.

Users are charges for the following things:

The Bill for OLA Cabs consist of following elements

1: Base Fare [Charged Flat]

2: Distance Fare [Charged Kilometer Wise(different for different cities)]

3: Ride Time Fare [Charged time taken to travel]

4: Peak Pricing [Direct Ratio depending on demand for cab

5: Service Tax [5.6 %]

6: Swach Bharat Tax [0.2%]

7: Toll Charges [Toll Collection in case you cross Toll Junction on roads.

OLA – Funding

Ola has raised a total of $1.38 Billion in 8 rounds from 20 investors.Top investors include likes of SoftBank, ABG Capital, Accel Partners, Mauritius Investments, Tiger Global Management, Matrix Partners, Steadview Capital, Sequoia Capital and DST Global. Their current valuation is somewhere between $3billion to $4 billion. However, in Nov 2015 it was valued more than $5 billion.

Consider that their four-year-old startup is valued at $2.5 billion—the third highest valued consumer internet company in India. Since 2011, when it was set up, Ola (formerly Ola Cabs) has raised a little over $900 million from over a dozen investors in at least eight rounds (see box Constant Inflow). This includes angels, marquee venture capital firms and hedge funds. The lure of this home-grown cab aggregator has proved irresistible to investors. And not all of it was about the sector opportunity or the company’s business model: “I was very impressed with Bhavish. He gave me a sense of confidence.

OLA – Competitor

Ola directly competes with  Uber world’s most well-financed startup having raised $15 billion in equity and debt.

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