Olala! debuts to great praise among nation’s well-heeled elite
The well-heeled elite of India are lauding the launch of a new startup that takes the hassle out of walking to their car-sharing ride. Olala!, which was founded by two IIT graduates, is premised on the idea that no one really wants to walk all the way to their Uber or their Ola and some consider it far too dangerous to make the trip on their own.
Founded on the principle of the delivery economy where everything from prescription medicine to Gobi Manchurian can be delivered to your door, the people at Olala! wondered why the same principle couldn’t apply to human labour. As a result, Olala! sends muscular, smartly-dressed men (called Lyfters) to help passengers get to their door without having to budge from the couch in their sitting room.
The idea took off almost immediately with Olala seeing its success soar in a short space of time, with over 200,000 downloads of the app since last Tuesday alone.
Many from India’s most financially secure classes are flocking to the idea of being carried to their vehicles as a newly well-heeled elite are willing to spend where previous generations chose not too.
“Ever since I realised that I didn’t have to walk to my favourite restaurant, I’ve been a fan of having things brought to me.” Olala! customer Saif Ali told us, “This just took things to the next logical step. I always found it annoying that I’d have to go out on the streets to get to my Uber. With Olala!, if the mountain won’t come to Muhammed, then Muhammed must go to the mountain.”
“There are huge ditches right outside my gate which have swallowed stray dogs in the past,” Bhavini Kumar, another satisfied user of Olala, said to The Tech Panda, “I just can’t see myself leaving the house without falling into one of them. I’m so glad that with Olala! the strain of having to walk to my Ola rickshaw vanished just like that.”
Not everyone is happy with the idea as many human rights activists have decried the use of human labour for demeaning acts like carrying someone to their car. A spokesperson for People First, a human rights NGO, stated that “the practice is cruel and remnant of when rickshaws in Calcutta were drawn by humans rather than animals.”
Olala seem nonplussed by the controversy with CEO and cofounder Mahesh Bhiman saying that he knew when he started that India was going to latch on to the innovative idea behind Olala!. “When we were spitballing ideas we never imagined the kind of success we’ve seen throughout the country,” Bhiman said “Once we decided on a blueprint though, we started to get a little carried away.”
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