One of the so-called unicorn start-ups in India, Ola has closed over $1.3 billion of external funding so far. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint
Bengaluru: Taxi-hailing service Ola, owned by ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd, has appointed Raghuvesh Sarup as chief marketing officer (CMO) to strengthen its core leadership team as the company prepares to expand its lead in the domestic market and trump San Fransisco-headquartered rival Uber Inc.
Sarup, whose last stint was at Microsoft, will lead the marketing division. He will join Ola in February, the company said in a statement on Monday.
“Raghuvesh has worked with globally respected businesses and brings valuable experience that will help Ola resonate as the choice of mobility for a billion people,” co-founder and chief executive Bhavish Aggarwal said in a statement.
Sarup, who has expertise in marketing, sales and brand management, had earlier worked with Yum Brands and Procter and Gamble.
In July, Ola said it appointed Sundeep Sahni, a former executive at Rocket Internet-funded Lazada, as vice-president of new initiatives.
One of the so-called unicorn start-ups in India, Ola has closed over $1.3 billion of external funding so far. Last November, the company raised $500 million from investment management firm Baillie Gifford, China’s largest taxi-hailing service company Didi Kuaidi and existing investors Falcon Edge Capital, Tiger Global, SoftBank Group and DST Global.
In April, Ola raised $400 million in a funding round led by DST Global. In October 2014, Japan’s SoftBank Group led a $210 million funding round.
Over the past year, Ola has launched a food delivery service—Ola Café—and an independent grocery-ordering app called Ola Store, taking a cue from the strategy Uber is adopting elsewhere in the world. Uber already delivers groceries, food and e-commerce products in the US.
The firm also aims to be a one-stop transportation solutions provider. After cabs and auto-rickshaws, the firm has rolled out shuttle bus services.
Ola has also announced its entry into the mobile payments business with the launch of a dedicated mobile app, a move that will put it in direct competition with Alibaba Group-backed Paytm and Snapdeal-owned FreeCharge.
In July, Uber had said it would invest $1 billion in India within 6-9 months.