Ola: From A Situational Idea To A Billion Dollar Startup

How would you feel if your taxi driver suddenly renegotiates the fare and when you say no the driver leaves you grounded in the middle of nowhere? Traumatic experience right? Well, the same thing happened with Bhavish Aggarwal, he was left on his own by his taxi driver in the middle of his journey from Bangalore to Bandipur. He felt helpless, and at that moment an amazing business plan cropped up in his brain.

Bhavish Aggarwal with his friend Ankit Bhati founded Ola Cabs, a Bengaluru-based ride-hailing startup with an aim to make public transportation easy in the country. The startup with the collaboration of drivers and cab owners provides various cab services to commuters. In 2015, OLA reached over 50 cities across India, and with over 200,000 rides, everyday business was growing at a rate of 40%.

In 2015, OLA launched an OLA fleet in which individuals with multiple cars can get attached as an OLA fleet operator. By functioning as a business entity and not just as an individual driver under OLA. Hence, the revenue is higher. Looking at the great success of its new launch, OLA came up with another service called OLA play in 2016, providing in-cab entertainment for a personalized and interactive experience.

OLA is currently operational in over 160 cities across India, providing 11 services in over 250+ cities, and also launched its services in Australia, New Zealand, and the UK, providing mobility solutions by matching the drivers to potential customers. Olaa is backed by global venture capital firms like SoftBank, Tencent, Microsoft, eBay, among others.

So far, Ola has raised $3.8 billion from investors, including Softbank, Tencent, Steadview Capital, Hyundai motor company, KIA motors, etc. The company has 44 investors under its belt. Apart from this, OLA has also made 4 investments in another startup, their most recent investment was in 2018 for Vogo.

OLA’s future is luminous in the upcoming years as the company is working towards placing India on the EV world map. The startup is crafting an electric scooter that will be completely AI automated and it has already started building a mega factory in Tamil Nadu to faster its process of EV manufacturing. Spread across 500 acres, the fully automated factory has the capacity to build 10 million electric two-wheelers by June 2022, with its core engineering managed by OLA itself. They will also produce batteries, vehicle computers, and software. Also, generating employment for over 10,000 people. They envision it to be the world’s largest scooter factory, bringing forth an electronic revolution in India.

“This will be the world’s largest scooter factory. Ola Electric aims to bring India to the world stage of this electrification revolution,” said Bhavish while addressing a press briefing at the Ola Future Factory land space. 

Ola’s vision is to build a sustainable electric product which will disrupt the market. Ola also plans to sell two-wheelers, three-wheelers and cars in the near future.

“Our ambition is to build a global business, and we are building a global first business. This factory is going to be exporting a lot of products as well.” “All of us have an entrepreneur in us. Entrepreneurs are not driven by fear; they are driven by the idea to create impact.” Said Bhavish Aggarwal, Founder & CEO of Ola.

With this AI automated electric scooter, Ola will introduce itself in the retail sector they said they will have a capacity ready of two million by June 2021 . By the end of 2022, they would have produce 10 million vehicles, building an electric vehicle ecosystem in India in the near future.

With the entry of top EV companies in India is likely to increase the adoption of EV vehicles in the country. Earlier this year, Tesla announced that it will be selling its electric cars in India. Indian automobile companies like TVS Motor Company Ltd are also joining the EV lineup by acquiring shared mobility startup Intellicar Telematics Pvt Ltd. Another startup Ather Energy, which manufactures a two-wheeler EV scooter, is also working to bring more electric two-wheeler vehicles through its Hosur factory.

From a humble beginning, OLA became a multi-billion dollar startup with a turnover of $360 million (FY 2019) led by Bhavish and Ankit, proves that anything is possible if one is determined.

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