Now it’s possible to start a taxi service without owning a fleet of vehicles.

Meet Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati, alumni of IIT Bombay who have used their background in IT to create a network of ‘Olacabs’ to take on competition from other radio taxi services in the country.

The duo has partnered with various smaller taxi operators to provide services across the city.

“We approached many mom-and-pop cab drivers and got them on board. The only thing that they need to do is buy an Android device and install the Olacabs software. It is a win-win for both sides,” says Aggarwal, CEO and Co-founder of Olacabs, founded in 2011,

Advantage small operators

Using the Olacabs network, small cab operators can maximise their inventory utilisation by about 70 per cent, said the company. Olacabs, in turn, gets a commission of 15 to 20 per cent on the fare. The tariff varies by city. The minimum fare ranges between Rs 18 and Rs 21.

The IIT duo introduced a smartphone application that can help customers locate Olacabs on the map and pick the nearest one. The application can also help customers track the cab moving towards them.

“The waiting time is drastically reduced and customers don’t need to keep worrying about when the cab will reach them. Customers can also book a cab through our call centre,” said Aggarwal.

At present, Olacabs has tie-ups with 600 operators in Mumbai and about 1,000 sedan taxis on its network. Thorough due diligence is done before signing up with the taxi operators, said the company. Olacabs also runs a driver engagement programme where drivers are rewarded based on customer feedback.

Expansion plan

“We are present in Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi. We plan to expand to Hyderabad, Pune, Chennai and Kolkata soon,’’ said Aggarwal, who heads a team of 400 people. The company expects to add another 400 people for the new centres.

Earlier this year, Olacabs received funding from marquee private equity investor Tiger Global Management.

Though the company did not officially reveal the amount, reports indicated an investment of Rs 40 crore. Olacabs is not looking to raise any more money at present.