Bhavish Aggarwal might have created India’s fastest-ever unicorn in Krutrim AI just last month, and Ola Electric could soon go public, but his original business is running into some headwinds.
US-based Asset Management Company Vanguard has valued Ola at just $1.88 billion. This is 74 percent below the valuation of $7.3 billion at which it had raised funds in December 2021. Vanguard holds a 0.7% stake in Ola.
Vanguard had first cut down the value of its investment in Ola by 45 percent in 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic had ground most of Ola’s fleet to a halt. It had then cut Ola’s valuation by 9.5 percent in 2021. In February this year, Vanguard had slashed Ola’s valuation by another 35 percent to $4.8 billion, and in August 2023, had slashed it to $3.5 billion. Vanguard has now slashed it further to $1.88 billion.
The valuation markdown comes even as Ola had managed to grow its revenues by 40 percent last financial year while simultaneously cutting its losses by 50 percent. In FY23, Ola had reported revenue of Rs. 2,799 crore, while its losses had narrowed to Rs. 772 crore.
But this improvement in its financial metrics doesn’t seem to have impressed Vanguard, which has gone ahead and again slashed Ola’s fair valuation. Ola isn’t the only startup which has seen its valuation crater in recent times. Byju’s is looking to raise funds at a valuation that’s 99 percent below its peak, and Pharmeasy has seen its valuation marked down by 90%. Swiggy, Meesho and Pine Labs have also seen their valuations be slashed by investors. In public markets, Paytm is now valued at just $3 billion, after raising money at a valuation of $16 billion while it was still private.
Ola, however, has had a slightly different story. As the company had seen its ride-hailing revenues plateau, Bhavish Aggarwal had launched Ola Electric, and quickly turned it into India’s biggest electric 2 wheeler company. With Ola Electric slated to go public, Bhavish Aggarwal entered the AI space and founded Krutrim AI. Krutrim has now become the fastest Indian startup to become a unicorn, touching a valuation of $1 billion 41 days after being launched. Combined, Bhavish Aggarwal’s many ventures seem to be still growing in value, but even as his newer bets soar, his original company might end up being left by the wayside.