Bhavish Aggarwal, chief executive officer and co-founder of ANI Technologies Pvt., owner of ride-hailing service Ola. (Photographer: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg)

Startup Street: Ola Co-Founder Among Time’s 100 Most Influential

This week on Startup Street – Ola co-founder featured in Times’ list of 100 most influential; Yahoo’s former chief Marissa Mayer is back in Silicon Valley with a startup incubator; and a technology startup partners with the National Skills Development Corporation.

Here’s what went on...

‘Pioneer’ Bhavish Aggarwal

Bhavish Aggarwal, the 32 year-old co-founder of India’s largest riding hailing service Ola was named in Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world this year.

His testimony, written by Flipkart’s Sachin Bansal, called Aggarwal “a flag bearer for India’s consumer tech ecosystem”.

Ola has expanded its network to more then 6 lakh vehicles across 110 cities, according to information on its website. It recently expanded to Australia as well, a fact highlighted by Bansal. “By taking Ola Down Under to Australia this year, he has made it one of the first homegrown tech companies to meaningfully expand outside India,” the Flipkart co-founder wrote in the testimony.

From bootstrapping Ola when Indian consumer tech was still taking baby steps to braving regulatory hurdles and fighting off foreign competitors, Bhavish has driven around the block a few times.
Sachin Bansal, Co-Founder, Flipkart

Before co-founding Ola Cabs with Ankit Bhati in 2011, Aggarwal worked with Microsoft for two years and filed two patents. He has a bachelor’s degree in computer in computer science and engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay.

Others in the list include Microsoft's Indian-born CEO Satya Nadella, U.S. President Donald Trump, Tesla and SpaceX Founder Elon Musk, Amacon chief Jeff Bezos, India’s cricket team captain Virat Kohli and Indian actress Deepika Padukone.

AI For Skills

Skill-measuring startup Mettl has entered into a partnership with the National Skill Development Corporation to equip the government-owned organisation with technology to assess skills.

NSDC has to cater to a “a highly competitive talent market with ever-evolving skilling requirements. It has, therefore, become vital for us to develop accurate assessment tools and provide better-skilled workforce,” Manish Kumar, managing director and chief executive officer of the corporation said in a press release.

Forty-eight percent of India’s employers find it difficult to fill positions because of the lack of skilled labour, according to a global survey titled Talent Shortage Survey conducted in 2016.

Mettl, which uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to assess skills, offers solutions for online assessments, real-time grading and online proctoring.

The "AI-enabled feature, which helps in detecting any changes in the test window change, will detect how many times and the duration for which the candidate has attempted to go out of the test window," the NSDC statement said. Mettl’s technology will also provide performance reports that will help the agency take decisions for certification and further skilling.

Marissa Mayer Is Back With Some ‘Good Juju’

Former chief executive officer of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer. (Photographer: Olivier Douliery/Bloomberg)
Former chief executive officer of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer. (Photographer: Olivier Douliery/Bloomberg)

Nearly a year after resigning from her role as Yahoo’s chief, Marissa Mayer has now returned to Silicon Valley with a startup incubator called Lumi Labs with long-time colleague Enrique Muñoz Torres.

Mayer rented has rented out the old Google office at Palo Alto, California., she said in her first interview after stepping down from Yahoo, to New York Times. “So this is actually the office where I started my career in 1999. This is also where PayPal started, so there’s a lot of good juju here.”

While she did not reveal any particular plans for Lumi Labs, she may be leaning towards the consumer industry. “We are focused in the consumer media and artificial intelligence space,” the company website says.

“I’ve been meeting with different founders and just seeing what’s happening in the industry,” she said in the same interview to NYT.

Marissa left Yahoo Inc. last year after failing to revive the company, resulting in a sale to Verizon Media.