10 million people tried Ola for the first time last fiscal year, says CEO Bhavish Aggarwal

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10 million people tried Ola for the first time last fiscal year, says CEO Bhavish Aggarwal
BCCL
  • Ola is now on a lookout for more driver partners, as it plans to expand into new cities and product offering.
  • Ola’s revenue declined by 95% in the first quarter of FY2021 due to the pandemic.
  • The impact of the pandemic will be long-drawn for Ola as the world is not going to “revert” to pre-COVID era anytime soon, CEO Aggarwal had said last year.
Ten million people tried Ola for the first time in the financial year 2021, the ride hailing giant’s chief executive (CEO) Bhavish Aggarwal announced on Twitter on Tuesday, September 7.

This coincides with the fact that it crossed its pre-COVID level gross merchandise value (GMV), last week. Ola is now on a lookout for more driver partners, as it plans to expand into new cities and product offering.

The development does come as a surprise as Ola had been massively impacted by COVID-induced travel restrictions and lockdown last year. The Bengaluru-based startup had to lay off 1,400 employees from its workforce in May 2020 as its revenue declined by 95% in the first two months of the financial year 2021.

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“Our revenue has come down 95% over the past 2 months. Most importantly, this crisis has affected the livelihoods of millions of our drivers and their families across India and our international geographies,” Aggarwal said in an internal email sent to employees last year.

He also mentioned that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will be long-drawn for Ola as the world if not going to “revert” to pre-COVID era anytime soon.

“Social distancing, anxiety, and an abundance of caution will be the operating principles for everyone,” he wrote in an email to employees while announcing the layoffs.

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As Ola has managed to recover from the impacts of the pandemic, it has put its initial public offering (IPO) plans back on the table. The company has raised half a billion dollars from Temasek and Warburg Pincus in July 2021. It also raised $100 million debt for its electric vehicles (EV) focused arm Ola Electric to finance new projects.

Ola was founded by Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati in 2010. The company has its presence across three continents. It has raised more than $4 billion to date from marquee investors like SoftBank, Tencent, Steadview Capital, Eternal, Sailing Capital, China Eurasian Economic Cooperation Fund and others.

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