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Mumbai: Call a cab with a tap on your phone!

Source : BUSINESS_STANDARD
Last Updated: Sat, Aug 25, 2012 18:42 hrs

Mumbai: Calling a cab is just a tap away. Mumbai-based Olacabs is among the first in India to have launched an application that allows you to book a cab by just tapping on your phone. Having gained traction in Mumbai, the company is now expanding to Bangalore and Delhi.

With a few taps on the Olacabs application on any of the android-based phones, users can call a cab. The company uses GPS technology to let users book a cab.

The application allows the users to see the cabs available within their vicinity. And a single tap lets them book it. A user can also see the cab moving towards their location on the map of the application. Once the cab is booked the application displays the driver's information. The driver calls only when he has reached the destination. The application is similar to UberCabs services in the US.

The mobile app is not what makes Olacabs different from the several radio taxi services that have sprung across the country. Bhavish Aggarwal, co-founder and chief executive officer of the company, describes Olacabs as a technology firm rather than a cab-services firm. One of his ambition is to be able to deliver a cab within 20 minutes from the time of booking. For this, the company is making use of data analytics, so that they can forecast demand for its services on a daily basis.

“Based on this data analysis we intend to providing service within 20 minutes of booking. At present it is around 30-35 minutes,” said Aggarwal. The company has a small team managing the data analytics for better forecasting in Mumbai.

Aggarwal says since they became operational in Mumbai for more than a year now, the company has generated enough data. “We also make use of demographic details while evaluating a region. The demand visualisation is done on a daily basis, so that accordingly we can have our cabs in areas where demand is high at specific hours,” he said.

Unlike other radio cab services provider, Olacabs is an aggregator of car rental service. The company does not have any inventory of cabs. “We have focused on creating a technology platform that will act as an umbrella for small car rental firms,” he said.

Olacabs is addressing point-to-point cab services, outstation cab services and full-day rental services. So far, Olacabs have been successful in getting 600 suppliers on board with 1,000 cabs in Mumbai. In Bangalore where it started services a month back, it has 100 suppliers, and Delhi which is still in pilot mode also has 100 suppliers.

The company claims to do 2,000 bookings on a daily basis. “We want to take this to 3,000 per day by the end of this month,” said he. Almost 50 per cent of these bookings come from its mobile applications.

Aggarwal said the model is a win-win for both the suppliers and the company. On an average the small car rental providers utilisation is about 30-40 per cent, by tying up with Olacabs the utlisation has gone up to 70 per cent. “We work on a commission basis. The average commission that we get, depending on what service it is, is about15 per cent,” said he.

Founded a year-and-a-half back, the company has raised two rounds of funding. The first was an Angel round of funding in May 2011 from entrepreneurs like Anupam Mittal, Kunal Behl and Rohit Bansal of Snapdeal, and Series A round of funding from Tiger Global this February.

“The funding has helped us expand our reach and scale as well. When we started we were 15 and now have almost 400 people on board. And have expanded to three cities,” said Aggarwal. But he has a uphill task in terms of customer experience, as delivery of cabs dependent on third party suppliers.




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