Crowdfunding

This Startup is Launching its ICO to Help Users Crowdfund a Fleet of Vehicles

4 hacks on how to raise funds by the believer in blockchain technology to fuel world economy
This Startup is Launching its ICO to Help Users Crowdfund a Fleet of Vehicles
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Entrepreneur Staff
Associate Editor, Entrepreneur.com
5 min read

You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

The ride for this startup is picking up.

From being a pioneer among Indian companies to allow the use of cryptocurrency in operations to addressing bottlenecks that challenged the scalability of its platform in less just two years of operations, Drivezy is nothing short of exemplary. 

Formerly called JustRide in 2015, the car-sharing aggregator transformed into a peer-to-peer marketplace for self-drive cars and two-wheeler rentals last year and is now venturing into cycle rental services.

What’s fuelling their growth? In its latest feat, the company has raised $10 million, part equity from Das Capital, and existing investors Axan Partners and IT-Farm. Part debt funding has been made by Mahindra Finance, ICICI Bank, Shriram Finance and Cholamandalam Finance.

Road To RentalCoins

Embracing technology could be the road ahead for innovation in India.

Quick to imbibe this, Drivezy built RentalCoins, a cryptocurrency that allows users to crowdfund a fleet of vehicles that would cater to everyone’s needs.

People invest only what they can afford. By lowering the barrier to entry, this system is expected to allow a greater segment of the Indian population to invest in a shared fleet of vehicle that generates monthly returns.

According to Ashwarya Singh, CEO and Founder of Drivezy, investors from across the globe will be able to directly invest in shared vehicles for the first time in India.

“We aim to raise $20 million through two private ICO’s to fund 2,000 vehicles that shall ply across the country. The initial phase of the project will be a proof of our concept and shall be open to accredited investors only. We shall convene a public ICO in 2018 which would allow everyone to participate,” Singh told Entrepreneur India.

Singh believes blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies are the missing links that could unite individual sharing markets like vehicle sharing, ride sharing, co-working spaces etc into a true sharing economy.

The amalgamation of blockchain and sharing economy will give rise to a new economic paradigm where nobody buys anything, but everyone owns everything, said Singh.  The company’s RentalCoins can potentially create almost 10 lakh micro-entrepreneurs, who can supplement their household income by renting their assets Singh claims.

Drivezy is aiming to leverage the power of the blockchain to build a secure and transparent technology to globalize the Indian car sharing marketplace via its upcoming Initial Coin Offering (ICO).

How Do You Get Investors Interested in Your Vision

Starting up your own business is not easy, especially if you’re doing it for the first time. There are a multitude of factors at play when you look to raise funds for your startup and a successful fundraise entails striking the right balance.  Here’s how Singh thinks is required to get the first (or next) round of funding.

Figure out the Problem: A common advice that does rounds in start-ups is always aiming to solve real-world problems to build great products. The irony is that you cannot build a great product unless you figure out what the actual problem is.

“Our initial idea was to build a seamless self-drive car rental service as more than 90% Indians don’t own a car. However, initially we had neglected a crucial piece of the puzzle; the people who did own a car, used it for less than a few hours each day,” Singh said.                    

Seek Mentors, Not Investors: There’s a wide variety of potential seed investors out there, and very few of them are known to public. Because of this, it’s important to think about fundraising not in terms of pure cash but rather in terms of relationships and value. Your early-stage investors are the cornerstone for your future fundraises. They provide credibility to your idea and help build your network for the next round.

“When we raised our seed investment back in 2015, we looked for people who could guide our business and believed in us and our vision. There are bound to be ups and downs so choose wisely. If you have figured the right problem to solve, then startup accelerators can offer excellent guidance,” Singh said.

Hire the Right Team: Hiring amazing talent is both the most difficult thing founders will ever do and the most transformative for their start up. Don’t just hire the best; but hire the people who match your culture and management style. If you hire a smart set, and provide them the right environment, the team will collectively work towards the common issue your company is trying to solve.

Start Small, Think Big and Scale Fast: No matter how valuable you think your idea is, your product must be market-fit. Find a value hypothesis that compels people to use your product. You cannot create a great product overnight. Building a great product is a painstaking iterative journey. You can start local, but once you’ve served the first hundred customers, figure out how you can scale your idea to cover the next hundred moving toward thousand. Above all time is the key. If you’re too slow to figure it out, someone will surely pip you to the finish line.

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