Before the rise of cab-aggregators, those who did not own cars were dependent on public transport and auto rickshaws. The former option was unreliable and auto-rickshaws were unregulated. Taxis were few and far between and often would charge exorbitant sums, thus keeping them out of reach. But nowadays, there is Ola to the rescue.
How Ola Came About:
Centered around the mission to help ensure seamless mobility for many, Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati set up Ola Cabs in 2010. It has grown into India’s largest homegrown cab aggregator.
Since its inception, it has completed over 1 billion rides across 250 cities worldwide and provided direct employment to 7000 employees and indirect employment to over 1.5 million drivers.
While Ola doesn’t own any taxis, it bridges the gap between car owners and passengers, providing mobility without the need to haggle for fares. Bookings are done through its mobile app.
The Journey from Olatrip.com to Ola!
In Ola’s early days, the company was known as olatrip.com and organized weekend getaways around Delhi. Not a single trip was sold, as customers preferred to pick hotels themselves but were looking for vehicles to take them to their destination.
The event that hastened the restructuring of Ola Trips to Ola Cabs was the less than stellar experience that co-founder Bhavish had at the hands of a cab driver when the driver decided to renegotiate the fare. When Bhavish refused, he was left stranded midway. In the face of this inconvenience, Bhavish decided to pivot the existing business model from organizing trips to ensuring hassle-free mobility.
Ola’s Business Model:
An Ola case study reveals its business model. Customers used to call its toll-free number for a cab when required. With the widespread use of smartphones, the founders foresaw the potential to make things easier and launched an app by which a taxi could be hailed in a few minutes.
The customer would select their destination and drop-off point. The app would share the request with drivers nearby, who would accept the ride. Ola would take a commission of 20% on every successful ride on its platform.
An Ola analysis shows diversification into different categories of cabs based on their price points, including Micro, Mini, Prime, and Lux. Its success at bringing autos on is a vital part of the Ola case study.
The idea to bring autorickshaws onto the platform came from an intern. Today, there are around 40,000 autos on its platform. Ola is working on adding chartered and tourist buses to its platform.
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In the financial year 2019-20, Ola reported a loss of 610 crores. In 2020-21, Ola reported a profit of 90 crores even in the face of the headwinds caused by the pandemic.
Ola’s business vision, though clear, did not evolve overnight. For the two co-founders, their dreams started with less than Rs 10,000, but today, the net worth of Ola stands at $6.5 Billion. We hope this Ola case study was a joy ride through and through!