Olacabs.com, an online car rentals and cab services venture from ANI Technologies, has raised funding from angel investors Rehan yar Khan, Shaadi.com Group founder Anupam Mittal, among others. The company intends to use the funds to build operations and marketing teams, and for product development. Olacabs.com essentially serves as a marketplace, and aggregates cab bookings and car rentals through different private taxi operators. It was founded and launched in December 2010 by IIT Mumbai graduates, Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati.
Although the exact amount of the funding has not been disclosed, it is said to be in the range of Rs 40 lakh to Rs 1 crore, according to VCCircle. Following the investment, Rehan yar Khan will join the Olacabs.com’s Board of Directors as an observer. Presently, the service is limited to Mumbai and offers full day, half day local rentals as well as outstation hires from the city. Unlike radio taxi services such as Meru and EasyCabs, it does not own or manage a fleet and works through partnerships with cab operators. The cabs hired through Olacabs bill users on an hourly basis and not on the basis of distance traveled.
Till February 2011, the website was mainly a listings space and it made bookings over the phone. It later enabled online bookings on the website, collecting 20% of the total cab fare to confirm a cab booking. Users can select a particular car model or filter cab search on the basis of price. The company claims that a number of its operator partners use its backend technology to manage their processes, which enables Olacabs to offer real time confirmations.
However, we were only able to see one listing for each car model, which could mean that either the site does not have more than one partner at the moment or it offers a fixed fare for a particular car make. Shouldn’t an aggregator offer deals from various sources? For example, online Bus booking service Redbus.in, lists buses from multiple operators and also includes user ratings and reviews. Why should the customer prefer a website which does not give him any extra value, rather charges a part of the rental in advance, when he can book it through his travel agent who offers a more personalized experience?