Most people fail to Understand that Running a Successful business is not Just about having a Huge Financial backing. It starts with a vision and what takes it forward is the grit, determination and sacrifice to take it to the next level. Knowing the market and working on strategies from time to time is the only way to build a sustainable Business. With a boom in the start up Culture, here is the Journey of 2 Start ups that started with a similar Vision and how their businesses took turns. At the start of second decade of 21st century most of the Indian consumer habits got shifted toward convenience and on demand services. Transport infrastructure in the country paved way for “Not so costly and ultrafast” solution providers for transportation problem. And that is the time when 2 companies started with the same vision of revolutionising the transport Industry. Though the market conditions remained the same when they started, only one went on to become the Market Leader.
A start up that changed the belief that to run a cab service one needs to own a fleet! The idea of digitalising taxi services cropped up in a casual conversation and later through market research Raghu & Aprameya (Founders) were able to find the untapped service of local fleet owners. These fleet owners were small players and were struggling mainly because of lack of backend support, such as getting the exact location of taxi and then ensuring punctuality in picks & drops. What these two did was to connect the customer and service provider by using simple technology. They contacted fleet owners and brought them onboard and in return they made a generous cut of 10-12% per order.
The journey began when Bhavish (founder) was abandoned by a cab driver when he denied to pay extra money. That is when he realized how his plight was probably similar to a lot of customers across the country who were looking for a quality cab service, but ended up with a one that stood them up, arrived and dropped them off late, didn’t stick to their promises, and came with drivers that were nightmares behind wheels. For the first time, he saw the amount of potential that an extraordinary cab booking service could have, and hence, he changed his business from his earlier start-up to the one we today know as – OlaCabs. This was in December 2010, where he was joined by his co-founder Ankit Bhati in his start-up journey.
With the massive funding that Ola had raised, it came up with unbelievable strategies like reducing per km prices, introducing monthly and weekly incentives to drivers and wallet recharge schemes. With this, Ola was losing around 200 INR/order courtesy its cash burn strategy to capture drivers and customers. TFS waited and watched for Ola to stop the cash burn tactics. But in Oct’14 Ola secured $210 million in funding and was unstoppable. Once knowing that Ola is not going to stop the cash burn game, TFS with all its resources jumped into the game and logically TFS too started burning cash at rate 150 INR/Trip. TFS engagement with customers rose and reached 8000 trips per day which accounted for a loss of $1.8 million in Nov’14.
While TFS founder was in USA for next round of talks with investors, an event in India changed the direction of Indian taxi service industry. Rape of a woman customer by one of Uber’s driver raised the question about the safety and security aspect of the service. Its future became grim with state governments putting a ban on such services.That incident changed the mindset of investors and TFS got a big no from everyone to whom they approached and after a lot of struggle, OLA acquired TFS for 200$ million and the company was shut down in 2015.