The Indian startup ecosystem has evolved in the last two years, says Ola's Bhavish Aggarwal

In a fireside chat at TechSparks 2023, Bhavish Aggarwal, Founder and CEO, Ola, said strong entrepreneurs will learn to weather all storms.

The Indian startup ecosystem has evolved in the last two years, says Ola's Bhavish Aggarwal

Thursday September 21, 2023,

2 min Read

The Indian startup ecosystem has evolved significantly in the last two years, weathering a tough cycle, said Bhavish Aggarwal, Founder and CEO, Ola, during the 14th edition of TechSparks Bengaluru, YourStory’s flagship tech startup event.

The experience of the last two years has made entrepreneurs resilient and set them up for success, he said.

"The funding winter is a particular narrative. But an entrepreneur will find a flourishing monsoon in any winter," said Aggarwal, in a fireside chat with Shradha Sharma, Founder and CEO, YourStory, adding that Bharatvaasis (Indians) enjoy the monsoons.

"Funding winter will happen sometimes, but the monsoons will arrive," Aggarwal added.

An entrepreneur is full of dreams and focuses on the way forward. A strong founder should start a business not for the money but for the right reasons, with hard work, he said.

Aggarwal added that as the Indian startup ecosystem continues to mature, founders must focus on tapping into avenues beyond the digital domain.

"Founders should dream beyond digital without forgetting the core anchoring of the domain. For us at Ola, digital remains a core focus but we believe that there’s so much more to explore which is what we have done," Aggarwal said during the fireside chat at TechSparks Bengaluru 2023.

Aspiring founders should also focus on building businesses that will be relevant after two decades. "The next two decades will be defined by scale and now is the time to start," he noted.

According to Aggarwal, climate tech, space tech, biotech, and artificial intelligence (AI)-based technologies including semiconductors offer unique startup opportunities.

Ola, which began as a ride-hailing platform, currently runs four companies—Ola Cabs, Ola Electric, Ola Financial Services, and Krutrim Si Designs Pvt Ltd.

The biggest shareholders in Ola Electric, Ola's electric vehicle business, are Temasek, SoftBank, Tiger Global Management, Edelweiss, Matrix Partners India, Kia Motors, and Alpha Wave Investors.

Ola Electric raised $140 million (~Rs 1.6 crore) in September from existing investors including venture capital firm Temasek, according to media reports. Temasek Holdings had reportedly cut a cheque for around $90 million, while others, mostly family offices, contributed the remaining.

Ola Electric’s plan for an initial public offering (IPO) is firming up, and the company is expected to file the draft red herring prospectus (DRHP) in October, as per media reports. The EV maker is expected to raise up to $700 million (~Rs 5,815 crore) from the public listing.

Edited by Swetha Kannan