'You Will Always Get Money When You Least Need It and Never Vice-Versa'
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After working for about a decade in the wireless industry, Deepesh Agarwal, along with Akash Maheshwari and Anuvrata Arora, decided to come together to solve a thriving problem that existed in every corporate house – employee transportation. MoveInSync was founded in 2009 and was incubated at the Indian School of Business. The company enables large corporate giants and MNCs manage their employee transportation system using high-end technology solutions.
Deepesh spoke to Entrepreneur Media on what it takes to cater to the needs of a disorganized sector.
Venturing into a disorganized sector
I worked with Motorola for the US Department of Transport and transport was the only thing I understood. But putting it in the Indian context was very important. We originally started with cab-pool for end customers from airport, etc. However in 2009 the low penetration of mobile phone made it unviable. Hence we pivoted our business model for office commute which by default provided us with a large employee base for cab-pooling.
It is surely challenging, but this is exactly what makes it interesting and probably a difficult to replicate business. We deal with a multi-stakeholder environment which varies from super smart folks, like employees at Google to the unpolished guys, (i.e.) the cab driver. You need to understand their pain points and genuinely solve it. Rest will fall in place!
Starting out late
Unlike most entrepreneurs these days who start off on their entrepreneurial journey very early in life, Deepesh can be considered a late entrant into this space. But Deepesh feels starting late also had its own merits. “My late start did help me with the experience. I do see the young entrepreneurs and I am inspired by their dedication and their maturity which I did not have at that age.”
Getting investors on board
MoveInSync is backed by Investus Capital Partners, Qualcomm Ventures and Saama Capital.
“We were the first ones to solve the problem in the office commute space. Till then the investor community never considered this as an investable area. Also, we did not have any US comparable. When we approached investors, they "explored" this area - saw our product, talked to customers, looked at the growth numbers and all these seem to indicate that here was a real problem and MoveInSync was addressing it. You will always get money when you least need it and never vice-versa. So, always be prepared for the rainy day!
Off late, MNCs are finding it difficult to maintain drivers as most of them are often lured by higher perks and incentives provided at Uber and Ola.
Deepesh said that the issue with drivers was a big phenomenon in 2015, when heavy driver subsidies led to a driver out flux from the "corporate" space to the "retail" space. However, the driver incentives have rationalized and not all drivers want to work 16 hrs a day to earn that extra bit. So, with time this driver ecosystem has reached equilibrium.
Working with government policies like odd-even rule and others
All attention to increasing traffic and pollution in our metros calls for a technology oriented ride sharing solution. This will ensure that more people travel in cabs, personal cars and buses. Government should necessarily promote and enable these, but obviously not dictate these.