Online-cab hailing service Ola has appointed Badri Ragahavan as chief data scientist. Raghavan will be responsible for leading a data science team with training in machine learning, decision analysis, pattern recognition and other related areas. The team will be working across various business units and departments and will be looking to increase efficencies including demand and supply prediction, driver behaviour, location intellignece and performance management.

Interestingly, in the press release, Raghavan mentioned that he was excited to work on Ola Share, its car pooling service. “Ola Share is a classic example of leveraging big data to improve matching rates and minimise deviations. With an aim to build more such solutions and add value on existing ones,” he said.

This takes significance as Ola Share has come under the lens in Bangalore by the Karnataka State Transport Commisioner who termed the service as illegal last month. The commissioner had asked the cab aggregators to stop the service and seized 30 cars. Traffic inspectors were asked a book a ride and seize the vehicle after dropping the other passenger, as indicated by this Economic Times report.  Ola and its rival Uber are also in talks with authorities in Tamil Nadu which is reviewing rules on car pooling. 

Prior to Ola, Raghavan was the chief data scientist and founding CTO of FirstFuel Software, an energy and utilities analytics firm based out of Boston.He was also working with IBM Research in New York as associate director, energy and utility analytics, where he helped set a framework for IBM’s analytics driven Smart Grid applications. Raghavan has worked in FICO for nearly a decade in leadership roles in analytics, product and operations.

Other appointments

Ola has been strengthtening its top deck in the last month:

– It appointed Vishal Kaul as its Chief Operating Officer, taking over from Pranay Jivrajka, who moves to the role of Founding Partner.

– The company appointed Shalabh Seth as the CEO of Ola Fleet Technologies, the company’s wholly owned car leasing subsidiary.