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10 Things You Didn't Know about Bhavish Aggarwal

Bhavish Aggarwal and wife

Bhavish Aggarwal is the CEO of Ola Cabs. As such, he is a figure of some note, seeing as how the latter is a multinational corporation that is involved in ridesharing plus a number of related services.

1. Born in Afghanistan

Interested individuals might guess that Aggarwal was born in India. However, this isn't the case. Instead, Aggarwal was born in Afghanistan in 1985. For context, this would have been in the middle of the Soviet-Afghan War that started up in 1979 and continued until 1989. On one side, there were the various insurgent groups called the Afghan mujahideen; on the other side, there were the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan plus their Soviet backers. Said year was a quiet one in relative terms. There was plenty of fighting. However, neither side mounted any major offensives.

2. Raised in Ludhiana

Having said that, while Aggarwal wasn't born in India, he was raised in India. To be exact, he was raised in Ludhiana, which can claim to be the largest of the cities that can be found in the Indian state of Punjab. Some cities have names with unclear origins. In contrast, others have names that are very well-known. Ludhiana is an excellent example of the latter. In short, it was founded by the Lodhi dynasty, which was the final dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate. As such, Ludhiana was once Lodhiana, which means "Lodhi town." Besides this, it is interesting to note that the city has a connection to transportation, seeing as how it is a manufacturing hub for bicycles.

3. Punjabi Hindu

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Aggarwal is of Punjabi Hindu background. Generally speaking, Punjabi Hindus are found in the Indian state of Punjab. However, there is still a small Punjabi Hindu community in Pakistan as well as sizable Punjabi Hindu communities situated throughout the Indian diaspora. As for how this happened even though Punjabi Hindus can trace their ancestral roots to throughout the historical region, well, the gist of it is that the Partition of India caused a lot of Hindus to flee from what would become Pakistan to India as well as a lot of Muslims to flee from what would become India to Pakistan.

4. Studied At Indian Institute of Technology Bombay

For his education, Aggarwal went to the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, which can be found in an upscale neighborhood of the city that is now called Mumbai. Based on its name, interested individuals should have no problem guessing that said school is focused on tech and science for the most part. Indeed, the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay and its counterparts were founded for the purpose of directing the development of technical education in the country, which was very important because it was very clear to everyone that technical know-how was necessary for countries to be competitive in the modern world.

5. Studied Computer Science and Engineering

Subject-wise, Aggarwal studied a couple of things. One was computer engineering. The other was engineering. Given that he is now running a tech company, it seems safe to say that he has put his education to very good use. For that matter, Aggarwal was already doing so well before he became an entrepreneur.

6. Was a Researcher for Microsoft

After all, there was a time when Aggarwal was a researcher for Microsoft. In short, he was a research intern for a period of three months in 2007. After which, Aggarwal went on to become an assistant researcher for Microsoft Research India, which was a position that he held for a bit over two years.

7. Co-Founded His Company in Bengaluru

Like a lot of entrepreneurs, Aggarwal chose to found his own company because of a bad experience with the solutions that were already available on the market. In his case, this means that he had a bad taxi experience, which convinced him to co-found a ridesharing company. This happened in the city of Bengaluru, which is the capital of the Indian state of Karnataka. Since then, Ola Cabs has spread not just throughout India but also to a number of other countries situated throughout the world, thus making it a notable example of an Indian company that has managed to break out onto the international stage.

8. Has Had to Face a Fair Number of Problems

This process hasn't been easy. After all, Aggarwal and the rest of the Ola Cabs leadership have had to handle a wide range of problems. For example, there has been considerable competition from foreign companies interested in the same markets, which made up for their relative lack of local expertise and experience by being bigger and better-established. Similarly, there have been regulatory hurdles as well, not least because Indian jurisdictions were like a lot of their counterparts around the world in that they had to scramble to come up with suitable guidelines for a relatively new line of business.

9. Has Joked About Outsourcing to Silicon Valley

Fairly and unfairly, India has a reputation for being a country where American tech companies outsource jobs to. This is what made it funny when Aggarwal joked about outsourcing jobs to Silicon Valley. Having said that, his joke was rooted in the real problem of a gap between the demand for tech talent and the supply for tech talent in Bengaluru, which is a hub of the Indian tech industry. A major factor contributing to the problem is that local tech workers are being poached by U.S. tech companies using lucrative incentives, which in turn, is one of the major factors causing Indian tech companies to improve their compensation packages to compete for talent.

10. Wants to Make an Electric Car

As mentioned earlier, Ola Cabs isn't limited to ridesharing. However, it is interesting to note that it is involved in the manufacturing of electric vehicles, which says much about the sheer range of its products and services. Ola Cabs has been hard-hit by the COVID-19 crisis, but Aggarwal remains forward-looking, as shown by his statement of interest in making an electric car out of mostly Indian-made components by 2023.

Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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