Ola Chennai! No secret this is.

The last one week has been hyperactive at the Olacabs Chennai office. A launch team quietly moved into the city a week ago and opened up our first 20 cars for free previews for select customers to begin with and then customers who saw our sparkling clean cars on-road and decided to try us. And over 750 users in a span of a week said Ola to us in Chennai!

With friends from the press, partners in Chennai, select customers as well as drivers and their families, we officially launched Olacabs in Chennai yesterday at the Hyatt Regency. Over 150 cars have signed up on to the Olacabs platform making Chennai the fastest growing city for us. And we are loving the way the city is going gaga over the Ola quality.

While we are going to have another quick story on ‘Why Chennai?’ for the next piece, we are here to stand for the three promises we bring to the table- High Quality, Convenience and Reliability. Being Diwali, we are launching with a bang!

Your first ride is free in Chennai upto Rs 500. No kidding! With Diwali around, we thought we could brighten up your festive plans and on that note make a difference too. Every car, starting today will have a small piggy bank of sorts. Don’t pay for your first ride, instead donate as you like towards brightening the lives of kids in the Sivakasi. All proceeds will go towards education initiatives by the Disha Kalvinilayam of Ma Foi Foundation which works on sustainable education for children to permanently keep them away from child labour.

Hop on, get a feel of Ola in Chennai and brighten some lives as well this Diwali!

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#Olaconnects

So what do we wake up to every morning? An Ola could just be as simple as getting from the airport to home for you and we’d like it to be that simple for you. But it becomes that simple only because we live up to our mission of making transportation efficient, economical and effortless, for both our customers and partners, every waking second of the day!

And is it only about transporting people? You bet not. We believe that we are the medium for the best things and the most special moments in your life- getting to your dream job interview on time, surprising family by coming back home earlier than you were expected, getting to that meeting on time which where you signed off your biggest deal, that first date with your better half to-be or simply going back home for Diwali unannounced!

And what about times when you are unable to make it? Can we step up for you? This Diwali, we’d do exactly that with hundreds of customers who aren’t home for Diwali by getting their wishes, thoughts and a box of sweet somethings to their loved ones in other cities. Well, we can’t make up for your absence, but we will make sure your presence is felt back home.

Come, connect with us on #Olaconnects.

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Raising the Bar

So Bangaloreans, we are at the #barcampblr tomorrow. Barcamp is an open event focused around people, ideas and collaboration. Well, that pretty much matches with our philosophy too! To us, this is one more way to meet more people who are passionate about what we stand for- making your ground transport experience hassle free. This includes traffic, weather, roads, potholes, cops, fares, petrol prices, inflation and all things down on earth!

 We’d look forward to discussing issues/ problems that we look to solve as a business and solicit your participation in solving for larger issues that all of us care about. We would also love to share more around what’s happening back at #olalabs and how we are doing our bit to give shape to the larger dream! Don’t forget to join the session (we don’t know when). 

 And lastly, we’d like to have a lot of fun too, as we always do! 10 cars are available for you to ride back home afresh from SAP Labs after the event. We’re looking to pool in upto 40 folks on a first come first serve basis and you can chum up on the way! To get your ride free, just register at our booth as you walk in at 8am. Some basic info and you could get your ride back free. We have also kept an Ola Luxury for one lucky you, more about that during the event!
 

Your cab arrives on time, or we pay for your flight!

When we first toyed with the idea of ‘insuring’ your ride to the airport (ourselves underwriting this mind you!), we were pinned down by just one thought- how are we going to control traffic, weather, breakdowns and anything out of our control to get your cab to your doorstep on time. But it din’t take more than a minute for all of us to put our fists down and say, “Heck, we gotta do this.” Solving for uncertainty is the business we are in! The least we can do is to ensure that your cab is on time for you take that flight on time.

A big risk?

Yes it is. But where does this confidence come from?

Intense Analytics- In the last three months inspite of crazy scale in both demand and  supply, we have brought down delayed pickups in Bangalore, our biggest city, by almost a 100%, down to 0.9%. The average delay time is less than 7 minutes and is mostly the last mile delay of identifying your gate! We see more scope with a lot of product innovation with our driver device.

Increased scale and supply- As the first and largest aggregator in the country, we are not only increasing the number of cars on road but also the appetite of cab users with a ‘like your own car whenever wherever’ feeling.

Crazy customer centricity- And at the end of the day, what matters most is simply You! You have spent on a flight to catch, you have trusted us with that and we jolly well go those many miles to make you smile.

This, for us is a commitment and not a campaign.

PS: Here are some other things that you should know.

App v2.1.1 – a little more for you

The Olacabs mobile app was updated to version 2.1.1 yesterday with a host of new features. The app is now more responsive, loads faster and has a couple of interesting under the hood changes.

In the Android version, the app zeroes in your location faster and you don’t have to worry about the GPS draining your phone battery when the app is running in the background. And the good news for all you iPhone users out there is the migration to Google Maps from Apple Maps. In the Indian context (and many say globally too), Google maps are a better choice in terms of accuracy as well as location/business listings. With the Google Maps integration in the Olacabs app, you can now zero in quickly and more accurately on your pickup locations!

 

Another interesting addition is the Use Coupon option. You can now avail of all pickup based offers like A399 in Bangalore for Airport Pickups or AIRPORT399 in Delhi-NCR for Airport Pickups right from the app without having to call us to avail them. After you book your cab, go to Profile > Rides  > Upcoming Rides and select the trip on which you’d like to avail the offer. Tap on Use Coupon below to enter your offer code and voila, you’re good to go!

We are currently working on more awesome features and you can expect us to notify you of another release very soon. How soon- take some hint from a recent feature on the CIO magazine around how agile our app development is!

PS: If you still haven’t got the update, get it  now, here

 

Winning mBillionth for impactful mobile innovation

Thursday last week at the Royal Ballroom of Eros Hilton, Delhi was an evening to remember! From over 291 nominations across categories, Olacabs emerged the winner in the travel and tourism category of the mBillionth Award, South Asia- 2013.

The Olacabs mobile application for Android and iOS is the first of its kind in the whole of Asia which allows users to view, plan, book and even track a cab in real-time through the app. The application has added benefits like user safety, transparency and hassle-free trip experience that makes it a full blown personal transport solution that a user can blindly trust. The jury also appreciated the social impact created by the business model – using available cab inventory efficiently to maximize supply rather than adding more cars to the road and creating a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem at the driver’s end directly impacting livelihoods and socio-economic status of over 4000 families.

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The mBillionth Award recognizes outstanding application of mobile innovations across 9 categories from countries all over South Asia. This is hosted jointly by the Digital Empowerment Foundation and the Vodafone Foundation in association with IAMAI, Mint and PwC. The jury comprises of experts from disciplines as wide as mobile, internet, social entrepreneurship, media, academia, corporate as well as the Government. We congratulate Redbus and SmartShehar who were co-winners in the category. Other notable nominees included MakeMyTrip.com and Cleartrip.com.

You sure want to know more about the award and what we feel about it- read here.

KnowThyApp

How often have you spent endless minutes on the phone, waiting for someone to help you with a cab booking? Haven’t you always wished that your cab booking was as simple as wish, touch go! Enter the Olacabs mobile app with a whole host of features to make your life on the road effortless.

The Olacabs app does much more than just getting you a cab. The intent is to simplify your booking experience and make it a one touch process, everytime you book a cab and this is made possible by those tiny features that you might have probably not discovered for yourself.

The #KnowThyApp series is a set of flashard tutorials that help you uncover every one of these features that could make your life simpler. You could pinpoint your exact location, choose your car type, locate the nearest taxi, mark your favorite pickups or even get yourself an invoice!

For instance, you really don’t have to search for your current location everytime you stray away. Simply hit the ‘locate me’ button and the location point automatically comes back to your current location on the map! Small thing, but saves you the pain of hunting for your exact location on a 4 inch screen!

In the first part of this series, we bring you nine different features that will enhance your cab booking experience. The second part will acquaint you with your account related details like sending an invoice, applying an offer code etc. Watch out for this.

2x Delhi

When we started Delhi as our 3rd city in November 2012, we were positive this would be one market where we would want to permanently redesign the way ground transportation happens. The Delhi metro, has remained a mass solution. Autos continue to be a meter-less option, effectively meaning you pay by mood. Buses are surely not safe anymore. Gurgaon needs no introduction on the pathetic ground transport options available.

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With frequent no-shows and terrible experiences if their cab did arrive, we took a bold decision to go live for Delhiites with few cars on the road. The response was overwhelming, not just from customers but also operators and drivers. All this trust stems from the Ola standard of training, ownership, stress on cab quality through frequent audits and technology integration that enables the driver / operator to function more as  a stakeholder in a larger scheme of things than your regular cabbie!

While the service quality, on-time performance and the overall booking experience is second to none with an Ola, our awesome offers for Delhi, be it Gurgaon10 or Airport399 (and many more to come) have been runaway hits.

By end of June, we doubled the number of cabs on road in the Delhi NCR region- a strong sign of the number of drivers/operators across size and scale who are keen on working with us and also the number of customers who love to say Ola to us, everyday! Read more about our fleet addition here.

#olafriday

A few weeks back, we sent out a small piece of communication urging all our users to follow us on twitter and like us on Facebook to make the best of our contests, offers and get rewarded! What social has done to us is tremendous. We have hired through social, made some super awesome product releases from suggests that we got here, internalized generous feedback and appreciation and most importantly, continue to get a perspective about anything Ola!

All of us love Fridays right and what better way than social about make that memorable for you? Starting today, the second Friday of May, we shall give out 3 free rides every Friday. What do you have to do for this? Tweet to us your CRN for this Friday’s booking with the #olafriday hashtag and you could be amongst the lucky three to get your ride free today with an Ola Money cashback.

With #olafriday, we start off what we foresee as the most exciting and rewarding thing social can ever be in our industry. Now go tweet!