Skip to main content

The Success Story of Ola Cabs-The Startup which Became One of the Fastest Achievers of the Unicorn Status

A cab
A cab (Picture credit: Aldo Picaso from Pexels

Welcome to Youth Motivator. I would like to tell you the success story of Ola Cabs.
Unicorn status means achieving one billion dollar valuation by a privately held startup.
Ola Cabs is one of the fastest achievers of the unicorn status in India.
Ola Cabs is also the India’s first taxi aggregator company.
This is the interesting case study of Ola Cabs.


Ola Cabs was co-founded by Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati, the alumni of IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) Bombay.
Bhavish Aggarwal completed computer science and engineering in 2008 from the prestigious IIT.
He started his career in the Microsoft Research centre.
Bhavish Aggarwal studied in an IIT, where the spirit of entrepreneurship is induced by regular seminars on topics like entrepreneurship and business.
By listening to these speeches, Bhavish Aggarwal decided in his college days that, one day he will definitely become an entrepreneur and stand on his own feet.

The sooner, the better-

He strongly felt that if he didn’t take risk to become an entrepreneur at this young age, he will never be able to take risks again in his whole life and as a consequence might not achieve his dreams.
This thought and the guilt of not moving in the direction of his dreams made him to resign his job.
So, Bhavish Aggarwal resigned from Microsoft after working for 2 years.
Even though he was a high-spirited entrepreneur, he didn’t get a concrete business idea to work upon.

Becoming a travel agent-

Bhavish Aggarwal started his own tour and travels Company by name Ola trips, a travel agency company.
He started offering local weekend and holiday trips to the nearby locations like Lonavla, Lavasa, etc.
Unfortunately, Bhavish Aggarwal did not get any response for his holiday trips offerings.
So, he decided to test his luck by marketing his own company.
Bhavish Aggarwal even distributed pamphlets about his company in New Delhi, in the year 2010, outside the stadium where Commonwealth Games were being held.
Even after marketing for an entire day, he was unable to sell even one single tour package.
His father was very worried for his son; he feared that his well-educated son might eventually settle as a travel agent.

The miserable incident out of which Ola Cabs was born-

One day, Bhavish Aggarwal was travelling by a cab from Bangalore to Bandipur.
After travelling half of the distance, the cab driver abruptly stopped the car in the middle of a forest and demanded exorbitant amount of money from Bhavish Aggarwal to complete the journey.
This was completely unexpected, as Bhavish negotiated the price of the travel beforehand.
Bhavish was very angered about the unjust behaviour of the driver, so he got down the cab and started walking on foot.
This incident made him to realise that without proper contacts, it is very difficult to get a cab which offers fair services.
And without proper contacts, one has to become a victim of arrogance of the drivers and their over-priced services.
Here, Bhavish Aggarwal understood the untapped business potential.

Realising the real need of the customers-

And after a few days, when he was bent on selling his tour package to a customer, the customer interrupted Bhavish Aggarwal by stating that he just needs a vehicle to reach his destination.
At that movement he realised that the people do not need his tour packages but instead need vehicles to reach their destinations.
So, Bhavish Aggarwal quit his travel agency business and completely focused on his new startup, Ola Cabs.

The birth of Ola Cabs –

On 3rd December 2010, Ola Cabs was born as a consequence of the above mentioned incidents.
Bhavish Aggarwal knew that he should need vehicles and drivers for those vehicles to meet the needs of his passengers.
So, he started incorporating drivers into Ola Cabs.

The initial struggle-

During the initial days, the booking of an Ola cab was mostly a manual process.
Many customers used to book a cab by phone calling, very few used to book cabs by using the Ola website.
Ankit Bhati used to call the drivers, when a customer books a cab by using Ola website.
Also, in the initial days, Bhavish Aggarwal himself used to borrow a car for picking up customers, as some drivers didn’t arrived on time.

Technology takes them to a new level-

After a few days, Bhavish Aggarwal realised the importance of connecting drivers with customers, for which he took the help of technology.
So, he requested his friend Ankit Bhati, to develop a very simple to use app.
Ankit Bhati focused on coding to make the cab booking process seamless by using automation techniques.

Complimenting each other-

So, Bhavish Aggarwal took the responsibility of strengthening the team by acquiring new drivers into Ola Cabs, whereas Ankit Bhati took the responsibility of strengthening the technology by developing an app for Ola Cabs.
In their initial days, Bhavish Aggarwal himself used to do multiple tasks like producing the Identification cards (ID cards) of the drivers and strived to bring his business on a low price model.
Over the time, Ola Cabs became popular because of the word by mouth publicity, which gained them the first angel investor, Kunal Bahl, co-founder and CEO of an e-commerce platform Snapdeal.
With the passage of time, many investors like Anupam Mittal, the founder of also invested in Ola Cabs.        
By the year 2012, Ola Cabs has garnered decent investments.

Facing the real challenge-

Even though Ola Cabs successfully garnered cab drivers and investors, gaining the customers was a real challenge, as the cab culture was not widely prevalent in India.
To make the customers get accustomed to the cab rides, they played the marketing game very effectively.

Employing the win-win strategy-

So, Ola Cabs initiated a referral programme, which gifted 50 rupees for referring a friend and also offered a free ride for fetching a new customer to the Ola Cabs.
This strategy was mainly focused on college and university students.
They also offered huge discounts.
Initially Ola Cabs also offered its rides for very cheap rates, like 6 rupees for one kilometre of travel; this pricing is similar to the pricing of the auto-rickshaws.
Bhavish Aggarwal realised that for any business to get successful, marketing plays a pivotal role.
In the first three years of Ola Cabs, they didn’t focus on earning profits but on building a huge ecosystem of drivers and passengers.

Making drivers the entrepreneurs-

Ola Cabs attracted many new drivers by the entrepreneur ideas and provided them with huge incentives.
They also helped many drivers to purchase their own cars, by offering them EMI (Equated Monthly Instalment) services.
Along with the passage of time, Ola Cabs slowly raised the cost of its rides and decreased the incentives which were being paid to the drivers, to make Ola Cabs profitable.
But many drivers are still continuing with Ola Cabs because Ola Cabs provide them with many non-monetary benefits like converting a driver into an entrepreneur, giving them their due respect, providing them with a constant stream of passengers, etc.

Overtaking Uber-

By the time Uber was trying to figure out the marketing strategy of Ola Cabs, Ola Cabs garnered the huge market share in India.
Now, Ola Cabs operates in over 110 cities, whereas Uber operates in just 40 cities in India.
Also, the customer base of Ola Cabs is around twice than that of Uber in India.
Now, the net worth of Bhavish Aggarwal is more than 430 million dollars.

The wide range of Ola Cabs offerings-

Now, in addition to offering cabs, Ola Cabs also offers auto-rickshaws (by name Ola auto), bicycles (by name Ola pedal), boats (by name Ola boat), share cabs (by name Ola Share), prime cabs (by name Ola Prime), electric vehicles, etc.

Why Ola Cabs will become successful?

The keen-sighted co-founder of Ola Cabs, Bhavish Aggarwal knew that the majority of people will not afford cars, even when they are capable of affording cars.
The main reason for this behaviour can be attributed to the maintenance costs of car, the cost of hiring a driver, the fuel costs, the hassle of parking, paying the taxes of vehicle and the congestion and poor condition of the country’s roads.
Also only five per cent of Indians own cars.
So, he recognised that many will utilize the cab services instead of owing a car.
In the future, no one wants to spend his majority of his time driving in the midst of the snail-paced vehicular traffic and to reduce the traffic congestion, many will eventually prefer shared transport, like shared cabs, shared buses, etc.

The light weight strategy-

Even now, in many parts of the country the internet speed is not great, so many people still rely on 2G internet connections, so Ola Cabs has developed its own light weight app by name Ola Lite, which works on very slow internet connections.
This strategy has helped Ola Cabs to penetrate the rural parts of the country.
These are the reasons why Ola will become even more successful in the coming future.
Now, Ola Cabs is giving a very stiff competition to a very big global player, Uber.

Interesting facts about Ola Cabs –

  • Till date, Bhavish Aggrawal hasn’t purchased his own car, even after becoming a millionaire.
  • He uses Ola Cabs to travel anywhere and this also provides him with an opportunity to personally check the quality of the cab services.
  • Ola Cabs doesn’t own a single car, all the cars are owned by their respective owners (drivers), and the maintenance and fuel costs are also minded by the drivers, so Ola Cabs just acts as a platform to connect passengers with the drivers.
  • Now, Ola Cabs has around 45,000 cabs.
  • Ola Cabs has launched its own virtual wallet service by name, Ola Money. This money can not only be used in the Ola Cabs services, but can also be used in several places like restaurants, metro trains, in booking air tickets, insurance, Café Coffee Day, Domino's Pizza, etc.
  • Ola Money is similar to the other wallet services like Paytm, Airtel money, etc.
  • Now, in India Ola Cabs rule over 56 per cent of cab services, whereas the remaining per cent is occupied by players like Uber, Jugnoo, Meru, etc.
  • Also, Ola Cabs has expanded its business in new countries like UK, Australia, New Zealand, etc.
  • Ola Cabs has also acquired Foodpanda business in India as for giving answer to the Uber Eats. Ola has not paid any money in acquiring Foodpanda, instead offered them equity shares of the Ola Cabs. 
  • If all the Ola Cabs are lined in a vertical line, then these cabs cover the entire distance of India from Kashmir to Kanyakumari.
  • Ola Cabs cover ten times the distance between the earth and the moon on a daily basis.
Thank you very much for reading. Please visit my blog and share the content, follow this blog as I will be updating my blog on a very regular basis with interesting information. And also, subscribe to my blog.
Feedback from readers is highly appreciated; it helps me to deliver better results to you.

Once again thank you for your time


Popular posts from this blog

The Splendid Spiritual Saga of Sadhguru

Welcome to Youth Motivator. I would like to tell you the interesting story of Jaggi Vasudev and how Jaggi Vasudev became Sadhguru. This article will help you to cultivate a feeling of spirituality and provide you with spiritual motivation. Sadhguru is an Indian mystic, yogi, philanthropist and author. Introduction -Jaggi Vasudev (Sadhguru) was born on 3 September 1957 in Mysore, Karnataka, India. Until the age of 19 years, Sadhguru did not spoke much and was very silent. Sadhguru did not spoke much because he realised that he didn’t know about anything. He realised this when he was 4 years old. Paying the complete attention -Sadhguru spent most part of his childhood paying attention to whatever he encountered. If he saw a glass of water, he used to stare at it for hours and during night he used to gaze at the darkness for the whole night. And when Sadhguru opened a book to read, he would immerse himself in focussing on a small tiny dot on a page for several hours and he would fail to read ev…

The Success Story of PUBG- The World's Most Popular Battle Royale Game

Welcome to Youth Motivator. I would like to tell you the success story of PUBG. PUBG is also known as PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds. Let us know how a passionate photographer is the reason for the popularity of PUBG. This game has become so popular, so much that you can observe many people playing PUBG on their mobile phones, personal computers, laptops and gaming consoles. The current generation of young people daily spend at least some amount of their time for playing this game. Even some people have become addicted to this game. Let us also know how PUBG was very effectively marketed on a low budget, which is the main reason for the success of the PUBG game. Let us learn how the company which created this game is earning billions of dollars through this game. Introduction-Brendan Greene, an Irish national is the creator of the PUBG game. Brendan Greene graduated in fine arts and later went on to become a web designer. He also learned professional photography. As he was himself an avid v…

Becoming the World's Most Valuable Start-up- The Story of ByteDance (The Owner of TikTok)

Welcome to Youth Motivator. I would like to tell you the success story of a very popular and controversial application, TikTok. Let us know how the company which offers TikTok has been valuated at a whopping 75 billion dollars. TikTok is a very popular social video app; more than 500 million youngsters use this app for creating and sharing short-duration videos. TikTok has been one of the most downloaded apps on the Google Play and App Store. By reading this post you will get to know very interesting facts and will gain insights on how this app grew so rapidly worldwide. The start-TikTok was initially started as an educational project. In the year 2014, two friends namely, Alex Zhu and Luyu Yang decided to develop an educational app. These two friends observed that at those times the educational videos were too lengthy. So, an idea sparked in their minds that they will produce short educational videos which would range in between 3 to 5 minutes. Alex Zhu and Luyu Yang thought that this short …

The Success Story of Elon Musk- The Most Revolutionary Risk-taking Entrepreneur Ever

Hello, welcome to Youth Motivator. Today, I would like to share with you the very inspirational story of Elon Musk. The biggest risk in our lives- Do you know who are under severe risk? The people who don’t take any risk in their lives and don’t leave their comfort zones. All the great people took risks in some part of their lives to attain great success. Introduction- Now, I am going to tell you about a famous personality who is a life-long risk taker. Yes, he is Elon Musk, the legend who is changing the world and one of the few peoples on earth who has potential to change the world. Elon Reeve Musk was born on June 28, 1971 in Pretoria, Transvaal, South Africa. His parents got divorced when he was just 10 years. He used to live with his father after their divorce. Since his childhood, Elon Musk used to show great interest in science and computers. Creative since childhood- He learnt computer programming and coding on his own, when Elon Musk was a kid. He created a game by name Blastar…

The Very Motivational Story of Cristiano Ronaldo

Welcome to Youth Motivator. I would like to tell you about the world’s favourite footballer Cristiano Ronaldo. Introduction-Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro was born on 5 February 1985 in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal in a very poor family. Because of the poverty, they used to daily face struggles. His father,José used to work as a gardener and as a kit man in a football club, on a very low pay. His job as a kit man was to supply kits to the football players and clean their rooms. José was very sad because he had not achieved anything meaningful in his life and he cannot properly feed his children because of poverty, so he became an alcoholic. Even though he was an alcoholic, he took good care of Ronaldo. The football game was introduced to Ronaldo by his father. Since, his childhood Cristiano Ronaldo did not show much interest in education but had a great passion for football. And he used to play football really well. Making his own football-But due to poverty, Ronaldo’s father José could no…

The Inspiring Story of Xiaomi (Mi)- A Very Successful Start-up

Welcome to Youth Motivator. I would like to tell you the success story of Xiaomi. This start-up company became the world’s fourth largest smartphone manufacturer within just eight years of entering the smartphone market. Xiaomi is a Chinese tech giant, headquartered in Haidian District,Beijing, China. Introduction-About the founder-Lei Jun was born on 16 December 1969 in Xiantao, China. He attended Wuhan University. In in the year 1992, he started his career as an engineer in Kingsoft. Lei Jun was so capable, that in the year 1998 he became the CEO of Kingsoft. So, it took him just six years to become the CEO. And in the year 2000, Lei Jun founded, an online book store. This initiative by Lei Jun was very successful and in the year 2004, he sold to for 75 million US dollars. After tasting this success, Lei Jun decided to do something bigger. The story of Xiaomi-On 6th April 2010, Lei Jun along with a team of 7 members founded Xiaomi Company with an initial investment…

The Inspiring Story of OYO- On the Path of Becoming the World’s Largest Hotel Chain

Hello, welcome to Youth Motivator, here I would like to tell you the success story of Ritesh Agarwal and his start-up OYO. Introduction Ritesh Agarwal is the founder and CEO of OYO. He is of 25 years. He was born in Bishama Katek, Orissa, India in the year 1993. Now OYO has around 450,000 rooms, in several countries like India, China, United Kingdom, Japan, UAE, etc. OYO is already the Asia’s largest hotel chain with around 90 per cent occupancy rate. Today, the net worth of Ritesh is 37,36,72,000 USD. How all of this started? From his childhood Ritesh wanted to become an entrepreneur. He got to know about the term entrepreneur from his elder sister, who once attended the entrepreneurship fest in an engineering college. He did not know the meaning of entrepreneur, so he looked for this word in Oxford Dictionary and found that an entrepreneur is somebody who solves a problem and makes a business along with it. Ritesh was so captured of becoming an entrepreneur that he told everyone tha…

The Inspiring Story of Dhirubhai Ambani – A Must Read for Every Entrepreneur

Welcome to Youth Motivator. I would like to tell you the success story of Dhirubhai Ambani which proves that where there is a will, there is a way. This is a must read for everyone, as this story is filled with motivation. Ambani became one of the greatest businessmen who redefined the meaning of the business despite lacking financial support, family background and education from the prestigious business schools. He achieved great heights with his indomitable will-power and dedication. Ambani is the founder of the Reliance Industries Limited, one of the world’s largestmultinational conglomerate companies. Now, the total assets of the Reliance Industries Limited are more than US$140 billion. Before starting Reliance Industries Limited, Ambani did several jobs. Introduction-Dhirajlal Hirachand Ambani (Dhirubhai Ambani) was born on 28 December 1932 to Hirachand Gordhanbhai Ambani and Jamnaben Ambani in Chorwad, Junagadh district, Gujarat in a poor family. His father, Hirachand Gordhanbhai Ambani…

The most Inspiring story of a 28 year old Blind CEO- The True story behind the Bollant Industries

Hello everyone, welcome to Youth Motivator.Today, I am going to tell you about a blind person who has achieved great success with his confidence and persistence. Even when society treated him cruelly, he gave back his valuable contributions to the society and helped to motivate the physically handicapped people all around the world. 
Even though he was hated by the society his parents always supported his endeavours and stood by his back.Srikanth Bolla was born blind; from his childhood he was widely discriminated in the society. 
He at a very young age established a company worth many billions, which even normal people find very difficult to do. Most of the people only think of doing great things but they lack the courage to realise their dreams, here you will know how a person with disability and constant humiliation by society achieved great feats at such a young age.
 He later on went to establish a company which not only proved his worth but he also employed numerous disabled people…