The pandemic makes mobility more relevant – Bhavish Aggarwal
The CEO of Ola, an app based cab service provider, is confident that future solutions to most crises would emanate from the world of tech and Indians would be at the forefront of this change.
When it comes to leading by example and steering a company by sitting in the driver’s seat, Bhavish Aggarwal, CEO of the iconic Ola company, an application based cab service provider, is second to none.
Aggarwal walks the talk and he stood up to be counted when it came to making a statement of intent for the well-being of his employees during these testing times brought about by the global pandemic which, at last count, has infected in excess of one million Indians.
Granted that Ola had to let go of 1,400 of their staff but Aggarwal announced that he would not take a year’s salary and ensure that the same amount would be deployed against combating the coronavirus.
Ola, a homegrown Indian start up, went ahead and launched a relief fund for supporting auto-rickshaw, cab and taxi drivers across the length and breadth of India. Moreover, Aggarwal had announced that every family affected by the staff retrenchment would receive a minimum payment of three months of their fixed salary irrespective of their notice board.
Aggarwal was a distinguished guest of the India Global Week 2020 (www.indiaglobalweek.com) #BeTheRevival where he took part in a discussion titled – The Future of Mobility In A Fast Changing World.
Entrusted with guiding Ola during this pandemic, by applying innovative solutions to the business that he has built single-handedly, Aggarwal commented, “The current pandemic is on top of everyone’s minds. The need of the hour is for people to stay safe and for the pandemic to be resolved. But the point to note is that the pandemic makes mobility even more relevant. Safe mobility is important even in times of normalcy – cleaner, safer mobility solutions are now relevant.”
To this end, Aggarwal stated that in terms of the specific UK market Ola had invested around $100 million to ensure that customers get a clean, sanitized, healthy service. “About 20 percent of all global emissions are linked to transport. Electrical options now make business sense. There is a distinct need to nudge that industry.”
The industries that now stand out for attention during the pandemic are IT and technology. The solutions and innovations for the future are going to emanate from this eco-system. Wanting to ensure that he catches the crest of the wave Aggarwal is acutely aware that a lot of innovation is waiting to take place in the world of mobility and Indian tech solution providers would be at the forefront of driving this evolution.
“The transformation of industries across the world has been accelerated because of this pandemic. The world is now a welcoming place to Indian businesses. Our value systems are being appreciated and respected. We are now poised to create leading global consumer brands driven by technology. This is the precise time for Indian businesses to bring on the energy.”
It has been an eventful and action packed entrepreneurial journey for Aggarwal ever since he was in college and day dreamed about what he could do in the world of business and technology without worrying about the resources which were certainly not at his disposal then. Today, Ola operates in 200 cities in India offering many solutions to customers.
“The main thing we realized early on is that consumer have the same issues everywhere,” Aggarwal offered. “Tech is not limited to markets. We wanted to build global solutions and play in the field of tech and build solutions. With that in mind we expanded to Australia, New Zealand, UK and London.”
Aggarwal is confident that Ola will continue to be relevant as long as the need to innovate and offer unique solutions remains a priority. According to him mobility is an important theme for human progress in general. “The way people trade as citizens and as nations depends upon mobility. It impacts our lives. It is not just about getting from point A to point B.”
To that extent, Aggarwal stayed the course as far as the premise of his discussion was concerned – it is important to build today for the mobility needs of the world tomorrow.