#Asia Taxi(not)ForSure: Cab-hailing giant Ola hands pink slips to up to 1,000 employees


Ola has also shut down TaxiForSure which it had acquired for US$200 million in March last year


Major cab-hailing companies are hitting the headlines for all reasons, right and wrong, as the industry is going through a consolidation mode globally.

While US giant Uber announced recently that it has sold off its Chinese business to Didi Chuxing in a strategic move, Southeast Asian rival Grab is reportedly in the midst of a US$1 billion investment deal.

As the developments were widely reported, Indonesia’s Go-jek announced raising of US$550 million from an international conglomerate of investors.

At a time when all these positive stories are circulating across the globe, a major company in the cab-hailing space has bitten the bullet. India’s largest cab-booking company Ola has reportedly fired around 700-1,000 employees and shut down TaxiForSure, which it had snapped for US$200 million in March last year.

Also Read: From masturbation to threats, cabbies in India drive Ola and Uber crazy

The move is to tighten its purse strings, as Ola is looking to dominate the Indian market.

As per a TechCircle report which quoted several with the knowledge of the matter, around 90 per cent of the staff being laid off are part of TaxiForSure and are people working in the call centres, driver relations and business development units. As per this report, around 13,000 people were working for the TaxiForSure unit until the lay-off news came out.

The lay-off comes at a time when Ola is fighting an intense battle with San Francisco-headquartered Uber, on and off the streets. The companies recently locked horns over the ‘nationality’ of each other.

The battle even reached the courts when Ola submitted an affidavit with an Indian High Court alleging that Uber was a “foreign” company profiteering through bypassing the law of the land. Uber hit back saying it is a global company with local roots and is as foreign as Ola. Both the companies are claiming dominance in the market, even though Ola is a few miles ahead in the competition.

Also Read: What may be Uber’s next core business to earn steady profit?

In order to thwart further threat from Uber, Ola inked a deal with Didi, Lyft (US) and GrabTaxi to enable customers of each other to use their local apps to book transportation when they travel to the other markets in the network.

Co-founded in 2011 by Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhatia, Ola runs an Internet-based platform that provides passengers access to taxis, leased cars and motorised rickshaws from PCs and smartphone apps.


A dominant player with 80 per cent share in India’s taxi-hailing business, Ola claims to be processing over 750,000 rides per day through a network of 320,000 cars across more than 100 cities. Its platform supports multiple languages, including English and Hindi.

Last November, Ola has raised US$500 million in its Series F round of funding, led by UK-based investment firm Baillie Gifford. Existing investors, including Falcon Edge Capital, Tiger Global, SoftBank Group, and DST Global, besides Chinese mobile transportation giant Didi Kuaidi, had also participated. With that round, Ola’s total funding had crossed US$1.3 billion.

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