Bhavish Aggarwal: Kingpin Of India's Cab Hailing Industry

The efforts and time to own and maintain a vehicle is not a feasible option for many Indians today. Yesteryear middle-class had dreams of owning a car. However, opting for a vehicle loan is an unwanted headache with interest rates reaching the sky. But, the startup circuit through its out of the box thinking has taken travel to the next level.

Bhavish Aggarwal, an alumnus of the prestigious Indian Institute Of Bombay conceived a revolution within the Indian transportation industry. The breakthrough was provided by a company that's known today as Ola.

By 2014, OLA had a network of 200,000 cars across 100 cities in the country. Receiving over 150,000 bookings per day, OLA is a dominating force in the Indian market. The major credit for Ola's results goes to Bhavish's sheer acumen.

The Emergence Of Ola

Bhavish was at Microsoft as a research intern and then continued there as an assistant researcher after graduation.

One day while traveling from Bangalore to Bandipur, he had a terrible experience as the driver stopped the car and re-negotiated the travel deal, that too in the midst of the trip. A fuming Bhavish was left stranded with the driver stopping the trip out of nowhere. Inspiration is omnipresent, and Bhavish found his. This traumatic experience ignited the idea behind OLA. It set the tone for a revolution that was about to come.

He resigned from Microsoft after this ordeal, and started an online company that dealt with holidays and short duration tours. It was named Olatrip.com. Bhavish Aggarwal talked about this idea with Ankit Bhati, his colleague from IIT-B.

Finally, on 3rd December 2010 along with Ankit Bhati, Bhavish founded OLA on the principle which connected taxi and cab drivers with daily passengers through the internet. While Ola was a newbie in the transportation circuit, it operated on the streets of Mumbai as a taxi aggregator before shifting to its present-day headquarters in Bangalore.

Putting up “Zero” inventory and starting an on-the-go company worked wonders for him. By partnering with taxi drivers and using the power of the internet, the result was a bright future for taxi drivers.

Ola's success was impossible without the drivers' satisfaction.  To appease them, the Ola team used to pay 5000 per day in tips with no salary. At that time, the sole task an OLA driver had to accomplish was completing a single trip on the given day. This lucrative opportunity enticed drivers to work with Ola. Later on, the payment was reduced to half with add-ons like a 750 INR tip on top of the basic salary.

Ola's astounding outcome as a startup can be attributed to E-commerce and M-commerce. M-commerce boosted the popularity of smartphones amongst the middle-class. Nowadays, every millennial owns a smartphone irrespective of where they stand in the economic pyramid. This works huge for Ola, with its app being one of the most widely used mobile apps for cab hailing and traveling. Leveraging existing trends for one's own benefit is what every entrepreneur should aspire to achieve.

The Strategy

Every successful startup comes across several hurdles in its path. Local aggregators such as The Radio Traffic Services and FastTrack gave stiff competition to Ola. This forced Bhavish to think different. Instead of randomly hiring drivers randomly, Ola began to work with the ones who had an ALL INDIA PERMIT. This move attracted customers who wanted inter-city travel.

Ranging from groceries to cabs, the diversity in services that Ola provides has differentiated it from the rest of the startups in the circuit. While the company was was expanding, Bhavish introduced OLA mini services in metropolitan cities such as Bangalore and Delhi. It provided affordable trips across cities with lucrative offers such as rides costing 12 rupees per kilometer. Ola Auto was next. Presently,Ola autos are the public favorite in many Indian cities. Bhavish's plan to acquire public transportation like autos and bikes within the workforce has worked wonders for the company.

The blend between Bhavish's intelligence and his presence of mind in the field of entrepreneurship set the tone for Ola becoming the trendsetter. No Doubt, Bhavish Aggarwal is one of the most successful entrepreneurs to have come out of India. In a country like India where there are multiple startups in every sector, Bhavish has offered something unique on the table for the public.

Bhavish is listed as one of the wealthiest entrepreneurs with INR 3100 crores under his belt. The “Best Startup of The Year” by IAMAI in the year 2013 with his presence in the list of 'Forbes 30 under 30' has cemented his legacy!

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About Shubham Kumar

Founder @StartupTalky. IIT KGP grad. Learner. Dedicated to the service of the startup Ecosystem. Love meeting people. Let's connect - [email protected]
  • Bangalore
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