While some credit should go to Flipkart founders for innovating in Indian market & creating an ecosystem when none existed, this article, with an admitted bias towards Bhavish, is full of error prone assumptions, knowingly or unknowingly. Pointing out a few while beginning to dispel one of author’s statement.
“Not to forget, they have blindly copied many of Ola’s local innovations — some have failed, while others have done them some good.”
Copying Ola’s innovation? Anyone who even remotely follows this sector from last 3 years will laugh at this. Ola is known to copy from its competitors & likes. Not just that, Ola did indulge in lot of unfair business practices viz a viz Taxiforsure when they poached drivers, employees, information, etc etc from TFS. Not to forget Ola discounted the rides heavily to drive competition like TFS, Meru out of the market.
If anyone did start price war in Indian market, it was Ola. You may call Bhavish audacious in that sense but he could afford that audacity with close to 200 million $ received from Softbank.
While Ola has indeed come up with various features, most of those have been reactionary launches either following up with Uber’s moves in West or some other startup in India.
Not to mention that most of the ‘so called innovations’ have hardly been of any value to company itself and merely distracted them from their core offering. Perhaps, Bhavish thought that he could drive all competition out merely by undercutting prices and not by investment in core technology or improving service.
How else can you explain this fact that till 6 months back, Ola did not have the option for the customer to put destination which the driver could easily use for navigating the address or to optimize the route for distance, time and traffic. How this feature was not prioritised while Ola launched Cafe, Money, Bike, Auto, blah blah, fails my logic.
Talking about unethical business practices w.r.t customers, Ola charges parking fees from customers when none applies for drop offs at certain airports. This coincidentally is done by Uber too. But we would expect the torch bearers of fairness to be fair.
Talking about 1 of these innovations, it is alleged that ‘Ola money’ merely copied the code from another home grown bootstrapped startup when they approached them for a wallet solution. Who knows what else they copied from such vulnerable startups who would perhaps till then be looking at Ola founders as role models.
The fact that Bhavish commands such respect from investors and can escape all the wrongs, is indeed commendable and proves that he perhaps is the best amongst the breed of entrepreneurs :)