In the Indian ride-hailing ecosystem, Meru Cabs had already been suffering at the hands of Ola and Uber. And now the company’s worries are being further piqued with the departure of chief executive Siddhartha Pahwa, who’s resigned after a five-year-long stint.
Resigning due to personal reasons and in search of better opportunities, Pahwa is leaving his responsibilities in the capable hands of Meru’s chief technology officer Nilesh Sangoi. He will take over the role of managing the country’s first taxi aggregator, starting December 2016.
Commenting on his departure, Pahwa says,
I have spent a good five years at Meru. It is now a stable organisation with cash break-even and is growing profitably. I have a few venture ideas in mind. I will start working on them soon after taking a short break.
He also shared the bliss of being able to work at one of the oldest and largest cab aggregation businesses in the country on his Twitter this morning. The tweet reads as follows:
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>One of the most satisfying and enriching experience. All the best to everyone at Meru. <a href=”https://t.co/GB1nn6fzyV”>pic.twitter.com/GB1nn6fzyV</a></p>— siddhartha pahwa (@sid__rocks) <a href=”https://twitter.com/sid__rocks/status/803439806831149056″>November 29, 2016</a></blockquote>
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For those unaware, Meru Cabs was founded by Neeraj Gupta in early 2007 to cater to the growing need of taxi rides on a per request basis. The organisation operated as an asset-intensive, call center-based cab booking company for a good part of its existence. But, this phase was followed by a complete transformation of Meru’s business and operational models.
This humongous change was made possible due to the hiring of Mr. Siddhartha Pahwa, who was working as the President of Supply Chain Management at one of India’s largest pharmaceutical company Abbot Healthcare. In addition, Pahwa had another 7 to 8 years of experience working in the supply chain, operations and finance management side of the business.
He is the sole person responsible for the current face of the cab aggregation company. He spearheaded the transformation of Meru back in 2011 and helped it move away from the call center approach and released the first Meru mobile app. He is also known to have worked with government authorities to lay the groundwork for changes in the taxi industry. But, the scenario is now completely different and the govt. is now working on a draft of guidelines for aggregations apps.
Meru is still the third largest ride-hailing app in the country and has recently picked up $25 million from Brand Capital to build out its brand and compete with its arch-enemies at the top positions. Around the same time, the company had stated that it is already profitable in 5 cities out of the 24 it operates it. Meru has a fleet size of over 20,000 cabs and is now looking to expand its service to 15 new cities in the coming 12 to 18 months.