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February 25, 2018

Ola to focus one-third of investments on skilling 5 m drivers, creating ecosystem

Bengaluru : The country’s largest online cab aggregator Ola has rolled out its long-term plan, which includes investing about one-third from its latest round of funding in adding another 5 million skilled drivers over the next five years, as well as on innovations and boosting the growth of e-vehicles.

Pranay Jivrajika, Chief Operating Officer of Ola, told that the company is investing the amount in the ecosystem rather than using it for capital dumping.

The cab aggregator had raised $500-600 million in its last round and has so far raised a total of $1.3billion.

“We are well capitalized and we don’t see ourselves raising funds for the next 12-18 months,” Jivrajika said. One of their major initiatives, which has been partially rolled out, has been the e-vehicle project through the company’s shared and sustainable mobility.
Softbank’s backing

The company’s CEO, Bhavish Agarwal, told that Ola has initiated sustainable mobility through pilots such as e-rickshaws. He said Masayoshi Son, founder and CEO of Softbank, one of the main investors in Ola, has committed to backing the project.

On the issue of shared mobility, which is one of the focus areas for the company, Jivrajika said it has grown since its launch. Earlier, it could transport seven-eight customers a day and can now transport up to 35 passengers a day.

He said the company plans to create more partnerships on the lines of its alliance with Maruti Suzuki. “We want to create more partnerships, affinity based system for drivers and make investments rather than spending money on incentives. We need to create long term values.”

Ola has tied up with the Ministry of skill development, as it tries to create a complete ecosystem for skill-based training. “It is some kind of invest-harvest relationship that you share with the ecosystem.”

Skilling drivers

The company plans to impart skill-based training to over 5 million drivers in the next five years which will be over and above the half a million drivers Ola currently has.

“Just as the infotech industry created millions of skilled engineers, we want to create a similar kind of wave. There is no dearth of people, but getting them skilled will create an infrastructure at an accelerated pace,” he pointed out.

He said Ola will continue to invest in building an ecosystem as well as on creating infrastructure instead of using the funds on practices like capital dumping, which eventually kills the market for all the stakeholders.

Railways tie-up

Ola is also looking at creating offline initiatives like partnering with the Indian Railways in setting up desks at railway stations for passengers to hire cabs, even if they do not have access to mobile phones.

Ola, which was launched in 2010, has over 60 per cent share of the market while its nearest competitor has over 30 per cent share of the market. According to Softbank data, the country’s cab business is expected to be worth about $7 billion by 2020.

Note: News shared for public awareness with reference from the information provided at online news portals.

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