Public Transport Technology Company Chalo Acquires Shared Mobility Startup Vogo

Vogo will augment Chalo's bus technology services by powering first and last-mile rides at major bus stops and other public places

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Just like fundraising and unicorn valuation, acquisitions have also become a norm in India's startup ecosystem. In 2021, more than 250 startups got acquired or acquihired by larger companies, says an entrackr report.

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Making an addition to the acquisition spree, a public transport technology company, Chalo, has announced that it has acquired Vogo, a tech-enabled shared mobility startup. Vogo will augment Chalo's bus technology services by powering first and last-mile rides at major bus stops and other public places. The acquisition aims to enable crores of bus users to easily travel to and from bus stops, and further boost bus ridership as it becomes more convenient to take a bus.

Prior to COVID-19, Vogo was present in Hyderabad and Bengaluru, fulfilling about 50,000 rides daily. Users could access petrol-powered two-wheelers through an app. As a part of this acquisition, the company is switching to electric vehicles across its fleet. Low-powered electric two-wheelers are safer, more suitable for short distances, and offer lower operating costs. Vogo will also expand beyond two-wheelers and offer other types of electric vehicles to suit market needs.

Vogo will continue to be known under the same brand name. Its founders Anand Ayyadurai and Padmanabhan Balakrishnan, and the rest of the Vogo team continue with Chalo and Vogo. Anand will step into a new leadership role for the Chalo group; Padmanabhan, previously Vogo's chief operating officer, will now serve as the chief executive officer; Abhimanyu Goyal, who was serving as the vice president, engineering, and has been with the company for five years, will now be elevated to chief technology officer; and Sharath Parameswaran, who was serving as the vice president, operations and growth, will now be elevated to chief business officer of Vogo.

"This acquisition offers Chalo key strategic gains. Now we will be able to offer a convenient and cost-effective option for bus passengers to travel to and from bus stops, solving the door-to-door daily commute. This will increase bus ridership and serves our core purpose of making travel more convenient and reliable for all," said Vinayak Bhavnani, co-founder and chief technology officer, Chalo in a statement.

Established in 2014, Chalo has a presence in 37 cities across 13 Indian states including Maharashtra, Delhi NCR, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Assam, and others. The Chalo App provides live tracking of over 15,000 buses. In January 2022, Chalo powered 100 million rides on its platform. Chalo recently announced a $40 million Series C funding round in Oct 2021, taking its total funding to $62 million, and the acquisition of Shuttl shortly thereafter.

"Given our shared DNA and values, we are pleased to join forces with the Chalo team. We have a common vision of solving the daily commute. Vogo democratized access to transport, and with Chalo we take this a step further in serving crores of people who rely on buses. We have already begun our transition to a 100 per cent electric fleet and will also expand into new vehicle categories to serve people better," said Padmanabhan Balakrishnan, co-founder and chief executive officer, Vogo.