A Day in the Life of Bhavish Aggarwal, Founder, Ola Cabs

Bhavish Aggarwal belongs to the young breed of ‘startuppers’ who form the face of Indian entrepreneurship ecosystem currently. Having graduated from IIT Bombay in 2008, Bhavish worked for Microsoft for a couple of years before calling it quits and starting up Ola Cabs- a cab rental service.

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Bhavish Aggarwal, Back in 2011 (Ola Cabs is now in multiple cities)

What did his family say?

“My parents believed I’d gone crazy. They thought I was becoming some kind of a travel agent and were very apprehensive about it. But things started changing. The funding came in as a stamp of approval for the idea and the growth has led them to believe in me now :) ” informs Bhavish.

A startup life has no work-life balance. “Work is life,” believes Bhavish. His day starts at 7 am in the morning and finishes somewhere a 1 in the night. One often starts wondering if a startup guy can be a morning or a night person? “He has to be both,” confirms Bhavish with a hearty laugh.

So, how is this almost 16 hour day scheduled? 

“I devote a day to each function. One day is ops, the next is marketing, next HR and so on. Every morning, my day begins with a reflection on the metrics of the previous day. I have a meeting with the core team of each department and chart out the week. Being a startup, everything is very real time and this is a big difference when compared to a corporate. There is no fixed schedule because every department, every week has a new challenge! It’s how you juggle all the tasks and somehow manage to do it within the 24 hours,” informs Bhavish.

Is there time for some fun?

“Not really,” grins Bhavish. “I’m not a big movie buff so it is usually work but I watched Barfi lately and really liked it.” Bhavish also isn’t active on social media and leaves that for the brand- “Ola Cabs”

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Ola Cabs in its early days; Now it has grown to >400 people

Thoughts on work culture

“I devote a lot of time to hire the right people. We keep on looking until we’ve found the right person. More than the skill match, we’re looking for the culture match,” says Bhavish. “Being a very aggressive company, it is not everyone’s cup of tea and finding the right people is invaluable.” Ola has a rather strict policy in terms of recruitment and gives the employee a decent amount of time but if it’s not working out, ways are parted in about 2 months time. “If something isn’t working, you can’t hang on to it. It’s better for both parties.” says Bhavish very practically.

How is the Support from Media in India for an Entrepreneur

Praising us for initiative like this, Bhavish believes the online media to be very up-to-date with information and what they’re doing to foster the entrepreneurial spirit. “The offline segment is not as focused on startups and entrepreneurship, but it is pretty understandable. There is a lag with the print media but slowly I think they’ll also pick up,” concludes Bhavish.

Favourite book: Biography of Steve Jobs

TIME LINE

7AM: Get up and get to office

9AM: Look at detailed metrics for the previous day. Talk to city heads

11AM-8PM: The huge period of uncertainty. “From here on till evening, my day is very unstructured. I have a broad agenda per day but given the real time nature of work, interruptions are many.”

10PM: Go home, finish work that required uninterrupted time, answer pending mail, plan for the next day

1AM: Sleep!

Ola Cabs is on Yourstory PAGES.