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Olacabs ropes in Cleartrip's Sunit Singh as design head; Yugantar Saikia appointed VP, HR

Online cab booking service Olacabs.com, run by Mumbai-based ANI Technologies Pvt Ltd., has appointed Sunit Singh as its vice president (VP) for design, while Yugantar Saikia joins the company as VP- human resources.

In his new role, Singh will work towards building a world-class personal transportation product. Singh has over 10 years of experience in the design consulting industry, and prior to Ola, he was heading design at Cleartrip. At the company, he was responsible for the user experience of products across the board. He had earlier also worked at companies like Yahoo, Paper Plane Solutions, and Burrp. Singh holds a BFA degree in drawing & painting from Sir J. J. School of Art, as well as a post grad in visual communication from the Industrial Design Centre, IIT Bombay.

"I have always wanted to work on a product that solves a fundamental problem and is used frequently. Design will play a key role in delivering a seamless experience for a product that delivers a high frequency, on-demand service. I am excited about contributing to Ola's vision," said Singh.

Saikia's experience in setting up and scaling the people and infrastructure functions for large businesses will help Ola attract top talent in the country. He has over 16 years of experience and in his previous role at FICO, he led several initiatives like heading India operations for customer growth and customer services worldwide, managing large M&A integrations, and setting up APAC landscape for the company. An alumnus of XLRI, Jamshedpur, Saikia had earlier also worked at companies like American Express and E&Y.

Commenting on the appointments, Bhavish Aggarwal, co-founder and CEO of Ola, said, "Saikia's experience of scaling people functions is very valuable for Ola at this point in time. Singh's expertise will go a long way in creating a better user experience for drivers and consumers on the Ola platform. I look forward to working with both of them."

Olacabs was founded in January 2011 by IIT Bombay alumnus Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati. It essentially connects users to independent cab drivers to book intra-city rides either on the go or by booking ahead of the scheduled travel plan. It also used to offer inter-city cab rentals but has discontinued it sometime back.

It claims to have 60,000 cabs on its platform serving two lakh customers daily. The company has added over 15,000 cars to its platform in the last three months and has launched operations in over 34 new cities during this period. It says it has been adding over 1,000 cabs to the platform every day.

According to the company, it is currently on a hiring spree across all functions and is targeting 500 hires just from campus hiring this year.

As per separate media reports citing sources, Ola is currently in advance talks to acquire Bangalore-based Serendipity Infolabs Pvt Ltd which runs rival service TaxiForSure.com. The deal, pegged at around $200 million, will involve both cash and stock swap. Given the rumoured amount it will be the second-largest buyout in the consumer internet market after Flipkart's acquisition of fashion portal Myntra for an estimated over $300 million last year.

Last month, Techcircle.in had exclusively reported that the company is in the market to scoop between $300-500 million in funding. This is barely three months after the Mumbai-based company had raised $210 million led by SoftBank. Ola is likely to rope in at least two new investors including a New York-based fund besides a Hong Kong-based fund house, besides participation from most of its existing investors.

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