Mumbai-based ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd., which runs the ‘book a cab’ service Olacabs.com, has raised its first round of funding from Anupam Mittal and angel investor Rehan Yar khan along with smaller investors.
The exact amount of the deal is not known but sources say it is in the range of Rs 40 lakh to Rs 1 crore.
ANI Technologies will use the funding for product development and targeted marketing. Olacabs.com has 100 cars and plans to increase the number to 1,000 in the next two years.
"We are focusing on the product and booking experience,” Bhavish Aggarwal, CEO and Co-founder, ANI Technologies, told Techcircle.in.
Anupam Mittal is one of India’s top online entrepreneurs and the founder and Chairman/Managing Director of People Interactive (I) Pvt Ltd, known for its flagship matrimony site Shaadi.com. People Interactive also runs Fropper.com, mobile gaming company Mauj.com, property site Makaan.com, astrology portal Astrolife.com as well as ShaadiTimes.com.
Rehan Yar Khan is an angel investor with a day job as founder of Flora2000 Inc, an ecommerce site for flower retailing targeting global markets. Khan has also invested in Hyderabad-based MyZingo eCommerce Service Pvt Ltd, which runs BuyThePrice.com, an e-commerce site for consumer electronics and appliances.
Khan, as a member of the Indian Angel Network, recently joined the board of mobile video streaming provider Jigsee Inc.
Anupam Mittal, Founder of People Group, said in a media statement issued later, “Bhavish and Ankit appear to be a solid team with a strong commitment towards building a business in this space. Given their passion and the unorganized nature of a potentially very large industry, we felt they deserved the backing.”
Following the investment, Rehan yar Khan will be joining the Olacabs.com’s Board of Directors as an observer.
Founded by two IIT Mumbai graduates Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati, Olacabs.com is a website that allows Mumbai citizens to search and rent cabs or cars online. It offers a choice of cars along with the prices from local operators, as well as reviews and ratings. It has partnered with local private operators for the cabs such as Alvin Tours and Travels for inventory.
The six month old startup was bootstrapped so far. A computer science graduate, Agarwal was employed at Microsoft Research between 2008 and 2010 while Bhati attempted his own startups before joining Olacabs.com. Aggarwal doubles up as the customer care executive and sets up partnerships for Olacabs.com while Bhati handles the technical aspects for the website.
The company will now spend on hiring. Currently, it is run by the two co-founders and three interns. “We will ramp up our marketing team and are looking for more experienced and senior people for operations side,” said Aggarwal.
Olacabs sends a confirmation email and an SMS with order details and follows up 6-12 hours before your journey, with an SMS with the name and contact number of the driver who will be driving and the license number of the car. The customer has to pay 20 per cent of the total amount online while the balance can be paid to the car driver after the trip ends. Online bookings for orders require a notice of 12 hours.
OlaCabs.com competes with offline radio taxi services such as Meru Cabs and Easy Cabs.
It caters to both corporates and individuals. “We have lot of corporate customers who book the cab for the entire day for a business travel. Business customers from outside India usually take the cab for meeting several clients and to go back to airport, so they take for more than 8 hours and it’s a big business now. But now we are mainly focusing on retail customers,” said Aggarwal. Currently the trends on Olacabs.com shows that people are booking cabs to go to Goa and Lonavla, two weekend getaways from Mumbai city.
Olacabs.com offers ground transport management and invoicing software solution for corporate customers and has 3-4 companies that are regular customers.
Olacabs.com has partnered with payment gateway provider EBS and accepts credit cards, debit cards, net banking and cash cards. According to the company blog, it has started accepting discount coupons, and the founder told Techcircle.in that a plan to introduce a loyalty program was also under way.
The startup is modelled on the lines of Uber (formerly Uber Cabs), a San Francisco-based startup which raised $11.5 million in February from Benchmark Capital and previous investors. According to TechCrunch, this gave Uber a $49 million pre-money valuation.
Uber has a unique iPhone application that allows users to book a cab from their phone. Like Uber, Olacabs is also planning to develop a mobile app which shows users the route taken by the taxi and its location using GPS.