Bhavish Aggarwal’s email to Ola Cabs employees on 20 May, his first in six months, bore bad news. The co-founder and CEO said around 1,400 of the ride-hailing company’s 4,500-plus employees would be laid off. The reason: the Covid-19 pandemic had brought its operations to a standstill and cratered revenue by about 95% over the last two months.
The layoffs also included around 20% of the 750-odd people working for Ola Fleet Technologies, its cab-leasing business, said a senior executive. They requested anonymity as they are not authorised to speak to the media. Ola Fleet, started in 2015, was suffering the same fate as ride-hailing.