Who: Bhavish Aggarwal, co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd that runs Ola.

Why: Last month, Ola (formerly Olacabs), an aggregator of taxis, said it will raise $210 million from SoftBank Internet and Media Inc. and existing investors Tiger Global, Matrix Partners India and Steadview Capital.

Background: Ola’s fund-raising is one of the largest in the Indian e-commerce and mobile space. Founded in January 2011 by Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay alumni Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati, Ola is one of the leading mobile applications for cab booking where customers can book from over 33,000 cabs in 19 Indian cities.

Experience: Aggarwal quit Microsoft Corp. to start ANI Technologies with Bhati. Both felt they could smoothen the rough edges of cab hiring with technology. Ola, with Aggarwal as CEO and Bhat as chief technology officer, launched car rentals in 2011. The initial 5 lakh came from Aggarwal’s savings. The firm entered the market with some six operators.

Challenge: Uber, Taxiforsure, Meru and EasyCabs are tough rivals. Many are flush with funds and are aggressively dropping fares. Ola’s aggregating model is asset-light and less capital-intensive, and others can easily copy the model. Success will depend on timely taxi arrivals, a large car fleet, and an army of qualified and well-behaved drivers who know the route. Aggarwal will have to manage scale carefully while he takes on cash-rich rivals.

Close