Ankit Bhati launches new SaaS startup with former Ola execs

Ola Co-founder and former CTO Ankit Bhati and former senior executives Satya Nagarajan and Nimish Joshi launched SaaS startup Amnic.
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Co-founder and former CTO of Ola, Ankit Bhati, has launched a new startup — Amnic, a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) startup along with former Ola execs Nimish Joshi (former VP and Head of Strategy and Business Development) and Satya Nagarajan (former VP and Head of Software Engineering and AI).

Two sources close to the development as well as multiple sources at Ola have confirmed this launch. However, in a conversation with YourStory, Nimish said that he will not be able to talk about it at this time.

According to the sources, Amnic will focus on the DevOps toolchain space.

Ola's RoC filings accessed by YourStory also revealed that Bhati holds 7,62,385 shares in Ola's India operations amounting to a 25 percent stake in the company and 1,66,185 shares amounting to six percent stake in the company's US operations.

Nimish has been a part of Ola since 2016 and has played a key role in Ola’s first experiment with EVs in the ride-hailing space at Nagpur in the same year, said a source. He was also responsible for steering Ola’s vision in foodtech with Foodpanda’s acquisition in 2017. Nimish was serving as the Chief General Counsel for Ola and the Head of Investor Relations before his departure.

Ola was founded in 2010 by Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati, who were batchmates at IIT Bombay.

The computer geek

"The last big project Ankit had worked on was Ola Play. Since 2017 end, Ankit has taken a slow backseat in the day-to-day technical operations in the organisation. There also has never been any official communication on his exit from the company," said a source close to the know.

Ankit, in fact, is believed to have even discussed his plans to look at different avenues and is said to have even gone on an exploratory trip to the South Pole in 2018. The shy, bespectacled man from Jodhpur can count the company events he has attended on his fingertips.

Ankit has hardly given any media interactions, except one with YourStory. "Nobody knew what Ankit will do next — no word of him starting up — he decided to take a break and take a few steps back, but he had ensured work happened as usual," says another source close to the know.

Many have added Ankit likes to be super involved in building tech — not someone who likes the limelight.

“Even during my days at IIT and at the computer centre, I realised the importance of data and how that would drive innovation,” Ankit had said in an earlier conversation with YourStory.

(L-R) Ankit Bhati and Bhavish Aggrawal, Founders of Ola

Data being the key

At the time, Ankit had said, “Everyone tries some form of ‘jugaad’ to fight and game the system. While some of the things they (the drivers) do, like asking their friends to book a ride (so as to get a certain number of rides to be eligible for an incentive) or try switching off the system so that surge kicks in, is simple and I can gauge. Some others keep me and my team on our toes. It really is funny, things like trying to barter a deal with the customer. Then it just comes to complete investigation.”

Ankit's morning ritual began with understanding data. He said, "And that comes with understanding the kind of rides, which categories get the most traction. What the customers need, what are the driver ratings, what is in the quickest possible time for a driver partner to reach the nearest customers? How long is a passenger willing to wait for another share customer? There are different and complex nuances today.”

For the mechanical engineering student, computers were a curious choice. “I knew one thing. I had to be an engineer and get access to technology I would otherwise not get access to. Computers intrigued me, they opened a new technological world that earlier didn’t exist.”

What is a laptop?

“Coming from the kind of family background I did, getting a laptop was totally out of the question. You needed to have a lot of money or be scholarly, and I was neither!” Spending most of his time at the computer centre, Ankit also became the administrator there.

“The college realised that most of the students were spending their time at the centre and were putting up restrictions. I was the obvious choice for leading the protest. I was already at the Sniper level at Counterstrike! I wasn’t going to let go of that easily”.

“I wasn’t into extracurricular activities or hopping away in the basketball court, but I was typing away happily. The only place I could do that was in the computer centre.”

The video game aficionado also built websites and worked on freelance projects in college to make money.

Apart from computers, if there was something that interested Ankit, it was cycling and the adventure trips he would take with his friends, particularly Bhavish. So, when the latter came up with the idea of building an experience trip website, he was immediately on board.

With time, the two realised people were keener on booking cabs for social functions or airport pickup and drops on a rental basis. And when YourStory had spoken to Ankit, they had come a full circle with Ola Rentals being one of the nine categories on Ola.

"Everyone in Ola had a separate kind of respect and reverence for Ankit. Apart from keeping to himself, we all knew he simply was a computer genius and god. He had a solution for everything," says another source.

And as Ankit put it:

“It always is about being able to simplify things. That is what technology can do. Whether it is simplifying the experience for the customers or for our driver partners, it is about how simple it is to use our platform,” adds Ankit.

Here is hoping the next big thing from this second-time entrepreneur.

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