Consistent Existence In the Market Was The Key Differentiator For Us: Aravind Sanka
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The mobility space has transitioned, making the lives of users easy while cutting down travel time. During the COVID-19 outbreak, when everything came to a standstill, transportation or mobility sector was no exception. New strategies to serve customers and shielding captains—bike rider partners—from financial burden came up as the dire need of the hour.
The drastic implementation of nationwide lockdown was uncertain, but, supporting livelihood of captains was the pressing need. Aravind Sanka, the co-founder of Rapido, a bike taxi app, believes gaining the trust of customers, solving captains’ earning issue and making stringent policies to maintain safety measures adopted due to outbreak of COVID-19 were utmost important.
He talked about the challenges faced by his team at a webinar conducted by Entrepreneur India and stated that captain funds was the major initiative. This fund was created to distribute daily essentials and certain amount of money went to captains to sustain their livelihood. He sensed the urgency of this phase and backed it up with a plan wherein work-from-home was adopted in tier-I cities over a week or 10 days prior to pan-India lockdown. He said all the initiatives were taken to address concerns of people dependent on Rapido.
Highlighting a few of the safety measures emphasized by his team, Sanka added that sanitizing the bike, accessibility of Arogya Setu app and using a face mask were made mandatory.
While commenting on the uncertainty, he quipped that lockdown and the outbreak of COVID-19 might have been uncertain, but, existence in the market was the team’s strength. For Rapido, stretching operations and staying in the market reflects its competitive approach.
Recalling the toughest time in the initial days of the startup, Sanka shared that despite a shortage of money, the team of Rapido stayed in the competitive market by solving problems and building capabilities. He further added that this approach turned out to be positive for the team during the lockdown period.
According to him, this lockdown phase and after-effects of pandemic may take six months or even a year to recover. Hence, the team is working on the agility to recover faster.
In terms of collaboration, he believes it is the best decision to leverage business growth. Also to address hyperlocal delivery, Sanka claimed that if safety is assured at a higher cost of delivery, then it will definitely be preferred by customers. In the context of pricing being influenced due to adoption of additional safety measures, he indicated that minimal charges will only be applicable to meet expenses of vendors for their livelihood.
From covering captains and offering insurance to them, imparting knowledge to customers about safety measures and referring to collaboration for new changes to solving fundamental needs of users were some of the key factors that Sanka believes will be key post the pandemic.
He has a firm belief that irrespective of challenges being faced during the lockdown and subsequent reopening, the plan to increase credibility, improve services and keeping safety of the two stakeholders in mind is being worked on. According to Sanka, the Rapido team is geared up with strategies to bounce back.