We will list our IPO in India: Ola

K Giriprakash Bengaluru | Updated on March 23, 2021

Varun Dubey

Says though SPACs are the current rage, the company prefers the traditional route

Ola Electric recently announced its plans to set up the world’s largest two-wheeler manufacturing plant in Tamil Nadu. Its sister company, Ola Mobility, the ride-hailing startup, is now readying plans to launch its own IPO. In an interaction with BusinessLine, Ola’s Varun Dubey, the head of marketing and a member of the leadership team, shares the company’s IPO plans as well as how Ola Mobility has fared during the pandemic:

At what stage is Ola’s IPO plan? Will it go through the SPAC route to list its IPO on one of the US bourses?

Our mobility business (Ola) and our electric business (Ola Electric) are both separate companies and are key to our vision of accelerating the world’s transition to sustainable mobility. Our mobility business continues to grow rapidly and bring consumers worldwide the best and the safest ride-hailing experience, especially today as consumer preference shifts away from public transport due to the coronavirus. Our electric business is laser-focused on setting up Ola Future factory and rolling out our first electric scooter to our customers in India and international markets across Europe, UK, ANZ, LatAm and more. Both of these, ride-hailing and electric, are critical to moving the world to sustainable mobility meaningfully. While SPACs (Special Purpose Acquisition Company) are indeed the current flavour, we are proudly domiciled in India and will have a more traditional IPO. While we don’t have a specific date to announce yet, it is undoubtedly on the mid-term horizon.

How much traffic is back for Ola Mobility? When does Ola see full-scale operations for Ola Mobility?

Our mobility business is not just recovering but rapidly growing. We’ve had a significant focus on ensuring quality and safety for our driver-partners and customers and seeing more of them use Ola more often. In fact, in many of our key geographies, we see recoveries of over 120 per cent, clearly highlighting significant market share gains. With social distancing being the new normal and safety and hygiene being of utmost significance, Ola has been aware of citizens’ apprehensions and has taken several focused steps towards this end. With strict adherence to safety measures like sanitization before and after the ride, mandatory fumigation, and making it compulsory for both the driver-partners and customers to wear a mask, we have taken all possible measures to ensure safety on every ride.

Compared to the pre-pandemic days, how many drivers are on board again? How many cabs are back on the road?

While the pandemic impacted mobility services as it did many other industries, the current scenario has seen a significant surge in demand across all our categories. Our driver-partners have resumed their assistance with the majority of cabs being back on the road. Coupled with rising demand and our driver-focussed initiatives in place, we are back to operating in full capacity across most of the key cities we operate in. We have taken the necessary steps to ensure our customers and driver partners’ safety and well being. We ensured that our driver community had access to all the resources, information and support to ensure their safety. All the Ola platform drivers have undergone dedicated training modules and received guidance, which prepared them to follow mandated safety precautions. These include a detailed understanding of how to carry out deep sanitization of cars using disinfectant liquids, wipe down high-touch surfaces, carried out before every ride, a practice recommended personal hygiene, and maintain hygiene equipment in cars, amongst others. We had also provided Insurance to the drivers to help them secure their earnings.

Is Ola Mobility looking at another round of funding?

We are the leader in the ride-hailing business in India, and our business continues to not just see strong recovery but rapid growth in market share as well. We remain well capitalised for our ambitions with a strong, fast-growing business.

What has been the reason for several top-level exits from Ola?

We are a fast-paced, entrepreneurial organisation that fosters a strong culture of innovation, collaboration and meritocracy. This enables us to continuously attract world-class talent that joins us to be part of industry creating, legacy-making initiatives. While hiring and exits are a natural process in any organisation, at Ola, we have a depth of talent and strong processes that ensure continuity and growth. Also, the culture, breadth of experience across our business verticals and the global exposure at Ola often inspire people to begin their entrepreneurial journey, which we believe is a wonderful. The world needs more entrepreneurs, not less.

Has Ola been able to restore its service in London? How have the international operations of Ola panned out?

Our mobility business in our international markets has been gaining substantial momentum and witnessing a good recovery with strong market share growth in key geographies. Obviously, due to the lockdown announced in London, the demand was muted. However, as it is easing up, we are witnessing a surge in demand.

Published on March 23, 2021

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