Startup Story: Bhavesh Aggarwal Co-founder and CEO of Ola

Bhavesh Aggarwal, CEO OLA

Innovation and technologies are getting renewed every other day. Tech-driven transportation industry is fast catching up with this evolving situation. In this scenario one name, that stands as a pioneering figure, is Bhavesh Aggarwal, the co-founder and CEO of Ola, a ride-hailing company. From birthing the concept of Ola Cabs to orchestrating its expansive growth, driving innovation, and embarking on the trailblazing journey into electric vehicles, Aggarwal’s entrepreneurial journey is nothing short of remarkable. 

In this blog post, we delve into the narrative of a visionary who, fueled by ambition and foresight, not only transformed the landscape of transportation but also embraced sustainability with Ola’s foray into electric vehicles. Join us as we track the early milestones of Bhavish Aggarwal’s life, setting the stage for a comprehensive exploration of his pioneering contributions to the tech-driven transport revolution.

Early Life and Education

Bhavish Aggarwal, born on August 28, 1985, in Ludhiana, Punjab, India, exhibited a smart entrepreneurial spirit from an early age. Growing up in an environment that prized education and ambition, Aggarwal embarked on a trajectory that would redefine the landscape of the Indian transportation industry. His educational journey led him to the esteemed Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, where he honed the analytical and problem-solving skills that would form the bedrock of his future professional endeavors.

At IIT Bombay, Aggarwal not only immersed himself in academic pursuits but also cultivated a mindset geared towards innovation and strategic thinking. The education he received laid a formidable foundation, equipping him with the intellectual tools necessary to navigate the complex challenges inherent in the business world. Little did he know that these early experiences and lessons would shape his destiny, propelling him to become the driving force behind Ola Cabs and Ola Electric—a testament to the transformative power of combining education with an innate entrepreneurial spirit.

Founding Ola Cabs


In 2010, Bhavish Aggarwal embarked on a journey that would reshape the dynamics of urban transportation in India with the establishment of Ola Cabs—a pivotal moment in his illustrious career. Faced with the frustrating challenges of securing reliable transportation in bustling urban centers, Aggarwal, alongside co-founder Ankit Bhati, conceptualized a transformative solution grounded in technology. Ola Cabs swiftly emerged as a groundbreaking platform, seamlessly connecting passengers with a vast network of drivers, fundamentally altering the way people commuted.

The initial phase of Ola was not without its trials. Aggarwal’s unwavering resolve and commitment were put to the test as he navigated the intricate web of regulatory hurdles and confronted formidable competition. Despite these challenges, Aggarwal’s strategic foresight and adaptability proved instrumental in propelling Ola into a great success to reckon with. Transforming it into a household name synonymous with convenience and innovation in the Indian transportation industry.

The resilience demonstrated during Ola’s early days not only demonstrated Aggarwal’s leadership mettle but also set the stage for the company’s enduring impact. Ola Cabs became more than a mere transportation service; it became a symbol of technological prowess and a testament to the transformative potential of entrepreneurial vision. Bhavesh Aggarwal’s journey with Ola Cabs exemplifies the triumph of innovation over adversity, cementing his status as a visionary entrepreneur who revolutionized the way people traverse urban landscapes in India.

Leading Ola’s Expansion and Innovation

OLA Auto

Guided by Bhavish Aggarwal’s visionary leadership, Ola go beyond the confines of a conventional cab-hailing service, marking a paradigm shift in the transportation sector. Aggarwal’s strategic acumen and forward-thinking approach propelled Ola beyond mere convenience, ushering in a new era of expansion and innovation.

Under Aggarwal’s watch, Ola embraced diversification, introducing pioneering services like Ola Auto and Ola Share. These innovations were not mere add-ons but strategic responses to the evolving needs of the user base. Ola Auto addressed the demand for affordable and efficient short-distance commuting, while Ola Share tapped into the growing trend of ride-sharing, catering to environmentally conscious consumers. Aggarwal’s keen understanding of market trends enabled Ola to stay ahead of the curve, demonstrating a nimbleness that set the company apart.

The introduction of these services was not just about meeting immediate demands but about anticipating and shaping the future of transportation. Aggarwal’s ability to capitalise on emerging opportunities became a cornerstone of Ola’s success story. This diversification not only enhanced Ola’s service portfolio but also solidified its position as an innovative industry leader, influencing the trajectory of urban mobility in India.

The ripple effect of Aggarwal’s strategic decisions was felt as Ola rapidly expanded its footprint, not only across India but beyond geographical borders. Ola’s journey from a regional player to a global force underscored Aggarwal’s capacity to navigate the complexities of a dynamic market. Through astute leadership and a commitment to innovation, Bhavish Aggarwal not only expanded Ola’s reach but also positioned the company as a trailblazer in the ever-evolving landscape of modern transportation.

Going beyond Ola to E-Vehicle

OLA electric bike

In a bold move that went beyond the realms of conventional transportation, Bhavish Aggarwal directed his visionary focus toward the future, recognizing the pressing need for eco-friendly alternatives. In 2017, Ola Electric was born, an ambitious venture with a clear mission – to champion sustainable and clean mobility solutions through electric vehicles (EVs). This strategic shift underscored Aggarwal’s unwavering commitment to environmental stewardship and marked a significant leap toward shaping the future of transportation.

Ola Electric was not merely a business manoeuvre; it was a visionary response to the environmental challenges posed by traditional modes of transportation. The initiative aimed to propel electric vehicles from the fringes into mainstream transportation, aligning with Aggarwal’s broader vision for a cleaner, greener future.

At the core of Ola Electric’s endeavours was the launch of electric scooters, a move that not only symbolised the company’s commitment to innovation but also positioned Aggarwal as a forward-thinking leader. The introduction of electric scooters wasn’t just a product launch; it was a transformative step towards reducing the carbon footprint of urban mobility. By providing a sustainable alternative for short-distance commuting, Aggarwal and Ola Electric sought to transform the way people traverse cities, contributing to a more environmentally conscious transportation landscape.

Aggarwal’s leadership in venturing into the electric vehicle space demonstrated a holistic understanding of the evolving needs of society and the imperative to address environmental concerns. Through Ola Electric, he not only expanded the horizons of Ola’s business portfolio but also championed a cause that extended beyond profit margins – the cause of sustainable and responsible mobility. In doing so, Bhavish Aggarwal solidified his position as a pioneer in the ever-changing landscape of transportation, showcasing that visionary leadership goes beyond the present, paving the way for a cleaner and greener tomorrow.

Challenges and Controversies

The entrepreneurship journey is not always a smooth ride. And most often it is accompanied by challenges, and Bhavish Aggarwal’s journey with Ola was no exception. The company encountered a series of obstacles, from regulatory complexities to disputes with competitors, and even instances of public scrutiny. It was in the face of these challenges that Aggarwal’s leadership mettle shone through, showcasing a remarkable ability to navigate tough terrain with resilience and integrity.

Ola’s encounter with regulatory hurdles and competitive disputes tested Aggarwal’s strategic acumen and determination. Faced with an ever-evolving landscape, he demonstrated adaptability, steering Ola through the intricacies of regulatory frameworks while maintaining a competitive edge in a dynamic market.

In 2018, Ola found itself caught in a controversy that brought the company into the spotlight. Allegations of corporate espionage surfaced, casting a shadow over Ola’s operations. This incident became a litmus test for Aggarwal’s crisis management skills. His response was characterized by transparency and accountability, as he navigated the challenges with a commitment to addressing the issue head-on.

The resolution of the corporate espionage controversy not only showcased Aggarwal’s adept crisis management but also became instrumental in shaping his leadership style. The experience served as a crucible, refining Ola’s corporate ethos and reinforcing a commitment to transparency, accountability, and ethical conduct.

Challenges, though daunting, often serve as catalysts for growth and transformation. In the time of adversity, Aggarwal and Ola emerged not only stronger but with a sharpened focus on ethical leadership. The lessons learned from navigating controversies became integral in shaping Aggarwal’s resilient leadership style, contributing to Ola’s enduring success and cementing its reputation as an industry leader with values at its core.


Aggarwal’s Impact and Legacy

OLA services

Bhavish Aggarwal’s influence on the transportation and technology sectors stands as an indelible mark on the entrepreneurial landscape. As he continues to chart new trajectories for Ola and Ola Electric, the significance of his impact cannot be overstated. Beyond the more obvious financial success of his ventures, Aggarwal’s legacy is deeply rooted in his role as a torch bearer, reshaping the urban transportation landscape in India.

Aggarwal’s emphasis on innovation, sustainability, and social responsibility goes beyond mere business strategies; it represents a paradigm shift in how companies perceive their role in society. His commitment to introducing sustainable practices within the transportation sector positions him as a thought leader, inspiring aspiring entrepreneurs to consider the broader implications of their ventures.

The influence of Ola’s success extend far beyond the boardroom, permeating the broader conversation on the future of mobility. Ola’s innovative services and Aggarwal’s pioneering foray into electric vehicles with Ola Electric have not only addressed immediate transportation needs but have also contributed to a larger dialogue on the environmental impact of urban mobility. This influence has the potential to shape the future trajectory of transportation, pushing the boundaries of what is possible in an era of rapid technological advancement.

Aggarwal’s legacy is not confined to numerical achievements; it resides in the lasting changes he has instigated within an industry critical to daily life. His visionary approach serves as a guiding light for entrepreneurs, encouraging them to envision businesses that not only thrive financially but also contribute positively to society and the environment. In steering Ola and Ola Electric into new horizons, Bhavish Aggarwal continues to be a beacon of inspiration, leaving an enduring imprint on the landscape he has so significantly transformed.


In conclusion, Bhavish Aggarwal’s journey from the corridors of IIT Bombay to the helm of Ola Cabs and Ola Electric exemplifies the transformative power of visionary leadership. His ability to identify opportunities, navigate challenges, and adapt to changing landscapes has positioned him as a stalwart in the Indian business ecosystem.

As we witness the continued evolution of Ola and Ola Electric, it becomes clear that Bhavish Aggarwal’s legacy extends beyond his individual achievements. He has not only revolutionized the way people commute but has also laid the groundwork for a sustainable and technology-driven future in transportation. Bhavish Aggarwal’s story serves as a testament to the potential for innovation and positive change that can arise when driven individuals embark on ambitious entrepreneurial journeys.

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