Innovation and creativity are two of the most casually thrown words in the start up world. But its usage is what defines the companies. Taxi’s have been used extensively in India and worldwide, they have been the bread and butter for a select few. I remember the days in Goa when I used to rent bikes and use them to the point where I would term “vehicle abuse” Technology and innovation driven India was taking a huge turn into start up companies. Every individual, college pass out/drop out would have dreamt less of porn than dreaming about his or her own start up company. While some companies play it safe to sustain themselves for a couple of years, some take the bold road and risk it all.
Some of the companies that have risked it big are well known brand names that job aspirants look forward to. Self-driving in India has a huge potential and some companies are cashing in big time. Especially considering lecherous taxi drivers turning into chronic masturbators who get a hard on even when they lay eyes on a silencer. That’s definitely creepy and so, self-driving is a much safer means of traveling. Why hire a chauffer driven car when you can drive it yourself? This is a nice concept that involves less risk and its more often than not a concept that Indians are getting comfortable with. Here is a list of a few start up companies that have seen the bigger picture and are creating a revolution:
A self-drive car sharing company whose head quarter is in Banglore. Started by David Back and Greg Moran, this company is fairly new and started its operations in February 2013. But don’t be fooled with the freshness, this company has copious brains that know the in and out of the industry. An American Duo started this company while they were studying at University of Pennsylvania. After dropping out of their respective field, they came to India to pursue Zoom.
Humble Beginning; The company started with a fleet of 7 cars in Bangalore and had some of the best brains on board to make things function. The company has raised a total of $ 3 million in equity capital, which is pretty impressive.
The $ 1.5 million seed round was laed by New York Investment network Empire Angels. Zoom in their later years also partnered with companies like Ford and Mahindra that allowed them to become the first car rental company in India to offer an electric vehicle, the Reva E20 by Mahindra. It also included Ford Ecosport urban SUV. Zoom also works in coordination with local established real estate developers, hotels, universities as well as corporate IT companies to secure parking for its vehicles and offers pick-up points to its members.
Bla-Bla Cars: Christmas was around the corner and Frédéric Mazzella was under pressure to get to his family home in Fontenay-le-Comte, 300 miles outside Paris – but all the trains were full. After eventually getting a lift from his sister, he noticed most of the cars on the road were empty but for the driver. This was a vast inefficiency in his eyes – but one that got him thinking.
“The idea was to organize all the available seats in cars just like we organize all the available seats in planes and trains, with a real search engine, and this did not exist. There was only demand and no offer and organized in a very weird way in that you would have neighbors who would share a ride but you did not know where they were going and when,” he says.
This Paris-based company has around 6-million loyal customers spread across various countries. It basically links drivers with passengers who can buy seats. According to the company, a million people use its website every month, keying in details of where they want to go and when, and getting a list of drivers heading to the same destination, with their journey history and a price – which can be a fraction of a ticket on public transport. As is with a typical start up scenario, BlaBla car had its share of struggle and brainstorming.
The company is stationed across 19 countries and has proudly shared 3 billion miles. This concept is eco friendly too. It has an estimate of 7lakh tons of CO2 saved. Going mobile is one of the smartest decisions for huge start up companies to constantly be in touch with its prospects. The bla bla car app has around 5 million app users (both iOS and Android) and has a huge following of Facebook too. This French startup has raised $100 million that is led by Index Ventures. The owner says that Bla Bla car is a market place where you can find a driver who is driving from one city to another and book a seat in advance. While drivers make a bit of money, riders can travel cheap.
Self Drive rental cars are the latest trend among the young Indians. Rather than owning a car, it’s more economical to rent one. Most metro cities have adapted to the economic way and have self-drive car rentals that are being picked up by people for short weekend trips or sometimes for moving intra-city as well. Revv has a similar model to that of Zoom. Albeit the similarity, the company claims its model to be a mix of Zip car and Dominos. Delivering the car to the user is definitely a delight to lazy bones like me.
Doorstep delivery is a global first and no other company has tried this concept. Anupam was a junior partner with McKinsey and his job had much to do with hardcore execution at automotive manufacturing plants. The other partners in this venture also share an automotive background. Amidst the list of investors, there is also an inclusion of the newly hired CEO of Myntra, more than ten directors and partners from McKinsey (including the heads of logistics and automotive practices), the CEO of a national cable TV distribution company, senior executives from an investment fund, and a German soccer professional. With a fleet of about 50 cars, the company launched operations in NCR on July 27.
Revv’s portfolio of cars includes 60 percent SUVs (three to four models), 10 per cent ultra-luxury (two to three models), 30 per cent sedan and hatchback (three to four models). The short-term vision is to popularize the notion of self-drive car rentals in India, and to make the market really take-off through a product that mimics the privacy and convenience of one’s own car. In the long run, all car rental companies take on private car ownership, through a communal car-share concept, to build a future where people do not have to buy cars to be able to use them.