“Our India business is in a strong position, we are doing the same in other countries also. The next logical step is for us to list in the public markets; we are an Indian domicile, unlike some of our peers, so we list in India,” said Aggarwal during the MEA-PIC Geo-Economic Conference that was held in Pune. “It is very important for us to be an Indian company and list in the Indian markets and build… maybe looking at us more, Indian internet companies can start going public (rather) than relying on private markets.”
The Bengaluru-based firm competes with US rival Uber whose lukewarm IPO last year has contributed to the lag in valuation trend among the unicorns across the Indian start-up ecosystem, according to the analysts. Also, the fiasco at SoftBank-backed co-working start-up WeWork pushed the firm’s initial public offering (IPO) plans in the US, as investors questioned the $47-billion valuation. The WeWork debacle has put pressure on SoftBank portfolio companies to show profitability, according to the analysts. Ola has raised a total of $3.8 billion in funding and is valued at around $5.8 billion.
Referring to the startup phase in the country, Aggarwal said that one of the objections people have is young ventures are spending too much money and they are not prudent from a financial perspective. “Our focus has been to build a business which is, not building for vanity, but for building strong fundamental propositions for the consumer and in a profitable business model. So, we’ve been doing that,” he said.
Aggarwal said he sees Ola’s growth in three phases—the first was the struggle phase which was “2011 to 2014, or 2013-14” where the firm was figuring out its business model, customer, users, and who will give it the money to build the company. The second phase was between 2014-2017 roughly, where this industry just exploded and like most disruptions in any industry it wasn’t a linear curve, it was an S curve.
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