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This Bike Taxi Start-up Aims To Make Transportation Accessible to Next 200 million Users This Year Bengaluru-based bike taxi provider, Rapido is working towards making commuting easier and affordable by allowing users to book a two-wheeler ride through its mobile app

By Shreya Ganguly

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Rapido

Dealing with traffic congestion while commuting to work is one common trouble faced by almost every daily commuter. Increasing number of personal vehicles on the road is not only resulting in daily congestion but also increasing pollution levels. Meanwhile, public transport users are left with little choice between dealing with the huge crowd in public transports or spend huge sums to afford comfortable cab ride.

But what if rides could not only be comfortable but also pocket friendly? Bengaluru-based bike taxi provider, Rapido is working towards making commuting easier and affordable. Founded in 2015 by Pavan Guntupalli, Aravind Sanka and Rishikesh SR, Rapido offers a platform where users can book a two-wheeler ride through its mobile app.

Currently with over 15 million registered users, Rapido aims to expand its user base to 200 million this year.

Early Journey

Speaking with Entrepreneur India, co-founder Arvind Sanka revealed that the idea of bike-taxi services came to them when the founders themselves found it difficult to spend huge amounts on cab and taxi services on a daily basis. "While we were working and earning a limited salary, it was difficult for us to spend on cab and taxi services available in the city on a daily basis. It is then when we realized that there isn't a mode of commuting available for early jobbers that is easy on pocket and yet convenient. Keeping in mind this problem statement, we wanted to make transportation convenient, accessible and affordable to the masses," Sanka added.

Sanka explained that the idea behind Rapido's launch was to make intra-city transportation convenient, affordable and accessible in the country. Apart from making rides convenient, Rapido also opens up an earning opportunity for two-wheeler owners who can list themselves on the platform as ride providers.

"Rapido saw the opportunity in using bikes to provide taxi-service and use that free pillion seat to help earn some additional income for bikers, as and when they liked," Sainka said.

Growth

According to the company, Rapido is now operational in nearly 100 cities in India. It claimed that the Rapido app has already hit the 10 million-mark and is adding new users every day.

Currently, Rapido has over 15 million registered users and more than 15 lakh registered captains (ride providers).

Sanka claimed that Rapido witnessed a growth of five times in number of rides in 2019 with a month-on-month growth of 20 per cent. "For Rapido, 2019 has been an extremely successful year. Our customers have grown close to four times and this is a testament to our overall growth and reach in the country. The Rapido app has already hit the 10 million-mark and is adding new users every day," Sanka added.

Till date, Rapido has raised a total funding of INR 558 crore from various investors. Some of its major backers include Westbridge AIF, Nexus Ventures, Konark Trust, Sabre Investment, Skycatcher LLC, Bace Fund and Integrated Growth Capital, among others. In August 2019, Rapido closed its Series B funding round at INR 390.11 crore led by Westbridge Capital.

Talking about challenges, Sanka explained the concept of bike taxi is relatively new in India with a certain perception attached to it. There are cultural and societal challenges such as sitting behind a stranger, rider safety and so on. This requires a certain amount of awareness which Rapido is trying to create.

Future Plans

Sanka said Rapido has earmarked a marketing budget of INR 200 crore which will be used to make transportation accessible to the next 200 million users. The funds will be invested heavily in various, national and regional, marketing campaigns across the country.

"We're currently at 15 million downloads and with the new campaign, we want to reach 50 million downloads and we feel ATL is the way to go for this. The marketing mix will include different media platforms, with a focus on regional communication since we have a strong presence in tier II and tier III markets. 2020 is going to be an even more aggressive year for us as we plan to reach more than 200 cities," Sanka said.

The company is currently looking to explore television and out-of-home partnerships with well-reputed digital platforms. Apart from this, Rapido is also aiming to get recognized as one of the top 10 consumer Internet transactional companies in the country and all our focus is in this direction.

Shreya Ganguly

Former Features Writer

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