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Ola’s cab business recovers 3x faster to pre-Covid levels, says CEO Bhavish Aggarwal

Ola CEO and co-founder Bhavish Aggarwal took to Twitter to announce that his ride-hailing company has recovered from the economic impacts of the pandemic, adding that the company’s GMV (gross merchandise value) crossed the pre-pandemic levels in the week to August 31.

Ola logo along with a vector image of Car on Yellowish background

Source: Infodea

In comparison to the first wave of Covid-19 infections last year, he noted the recovery from the second wave was three times faster. GMV for the ride-hailing company essentially represents the total value of all rides including cabs and autorickshaws, taken via the platform over a given period of time.

Bhavish Aggarwal also mentioned that the startup welcomed 10 million new users in the fiscal year 2020-21 and that the company is trying to enroll additional driver-partners, expand into new cities, and develop new products to better accomplish mobility demands post-COVID. Up to this point, the cab-hailing aggregator successfully vaccinated over 3 lakh drivers, with the goal of reaching 100% vaccination shortly.

The ride-hailing industry, among many others, was negatively affected by the pandemic, as the outbreak and eventual lockdown froze off demand and severely damaged operations. To stay sustainable, companies were compelled to lay off workers and minimize expenses. In May of last year, Ola, also, announced the layoff of 1,400 personnel, or over 33 percent from its ridesharing, financial services, and food businesses, blaming a sharp drop in revenue during the first wave.

Aggarwal, who also oversees Ola Electric, the two-wheeler EV company, has hinted at a possible IPO for Ola Cabs by next year. Ola has picked financial institutions including Citigroup Inc. and Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd to handle its initial public offering. The ride-hailing startup has recently appointed Morgan Stanley as an investment bank for its rumored $1 billion IPO. According to news agencies, Ola will seek an $8 billion valuation in its IPO and is expected to file its draft red herring prospectus (DRHP) with market regulator SEBI in the December quarter of 2021.

Ola is putting a lot of money into the electric vehicle space through its subsidiary Ola Electric. The company stated in December 2020 that it will invest Rs 2,400 crore in the first phase of its manufacturing facility. The Ola Futurefactory will be constructed on a 500-acre plot of land in Tamil Nadu. At a maximum capacity of 10 million vehicles per year, it would be the world’s largest two-wheeler factory, handling 15% of global capacity.

The company raised $500 million from investment firm Warburg Pincus and Singapore’s Temasek Holdings in a secondary transaction in July. Ola is also increasing its Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOPs) pool to Rs 3,000 crore and providing employees an additional Rs 400 crore in shares.

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