Leading taxi aggregator Ola plans to remain focused on growth and expansion while not being overly concerned about profitability. Ola, which has raised around $1.3 billion till now, with presence in over 100 cities, will look to expand its portfolio of services and introducing new products.
Talking to FE, Ola’s new chief financial officer Rajiv Bansal said, “We are well capitalised now and have lot of cash right now. The focus will be on execution, growth and portfolio management.”
Queried about the need for any fresh funds for expansion, Bansal said, “There is no immediate requirement as of now. If there is any such opportunity, we will look into it.” Bansal had joined Ola in January this year after exiting Infosys as CFO. Ola and Uber are the two large players in the taxi aggregator segment accounting for over one million bookings a day. Besides there are other niche players such as Shuttl, Jugnoo among others.
According to Bansal, there is a massive opportunity in front of them as over 300 million people in India use some sort of public transportation. “Even if you take 40% of this market share that is huge. That is the area we are looking at,” he said. However, he did not divulge details on the plans of Ola in terms of expansion or the new products they are planning to offer.
While there are reports that the company may roll back its grocery store initiative called Ola Store, the company denied the same.
On maintaining a prudent financial model in a start up like Ola, Bansal said, “Whether it is a start up or an established company one has to invest for growth and cut down wastage. We would not like to be profitable at the cost of growth,” he remarked.
Ola has also recently introduced bus shuttle service which is targetted at the corporate segment. The aggregator already has over 2,500 small companies who use their services on a contract basis. Now, the plans are to extend this to the bigger corporates especially major IT companies whose requirements will be on a larger scale.
Founded in 2010 by IIT-Bombay alumni Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati, Ola has operations across 102 cities in India. It has about 2.5 lakh vehicles on its platform.
The company was funded with marquee investors such as Softbank, DST Global, Sequoia Capital and Tiger Global and Baillie Gifford. The company had raised $500 million in fresh round of funding in November last year.
Ola has introduced its shuttle service in Bengaluru primarily targeting customers in the IT corridor routes, though there is a standing directive from the Karnataka government that no such services will be permitted. The government has already cracked the whip on Zipgo, a start up that ran similar services in Bengaluru, in December last year.
Ola has over 350,000 partners in 102 cities, and claims to have a market share of over 80%.