Startups disrupting Uber

Cost vs Convenience

The above tweet about Bounce achieving 80,000 daily rides in a day led me to this blog post. You travel everyday whether you love it or not, even if you are working remote. A recent study says that 7% of average work day in India is just spent on travel Depending upon the location, distance and your mode of travel, be it metro, e-scooter, boat, (helicopter for Mukesh bhai), you would love to cut down on travel time. India is notorious for its congestion being out of control as showcased by below

Mumbai, the land of finance and Vadapav still tops the list

Uber, with a market value of $74B has changed travel as we know it. 10 years back, it would have been crazy for someone to even consider getting a cab through a mobile, but now it has become ubiquitous to use daily. Ola, Didi, Gett, BlaBlaCar & Lyft are all part of the same equation where you use an app to get a cab. For this blog post, I would be more focused on Bangalore, considering the innovations in travel happening over here.

Cost vs Convenience

Uber might have started the disruption of the personal transport industry, but a different company is going to disrupt Uber itself

If you think Bird (e-scooter startup) is the peak of transport innovation in Silicon Valley, wait till you hear about India’s Silicon Valley. Every resident of Benguluru can now actually travel through 8 different ways for reaching his office. Why is this important ? Because it is disrupting personal transport as we know it, changing customer habits and preferences, ultimately having huge implications on the trillion dollar automobile market in India.

What are the most important dimensions to personal travel ? Cost, Convenience and Distance, but for practically, I have only chosen cost and convenience and tried to map them on the below scale. It vaguely represents a line with cost increasing as per convenience. (To ensure brevity, these travel options are not mentioned: Waymo’s Self-driving Taxi, Cycling/Jogging/Skating, Waterways, Trams, Local Trains, Bike Taxi)

DriveU: The only thing that can be more expensive that owning a personal car would be having a driver on demand. A friend has used this once while travelling and it is a godsend for people who travel a lot. One of the few services who just does one thing quickly, securely and efficiently. A startup that is bound to disrupt this personal travel space for millions of people in India, especially useful for outstation travels, but can be used inside the city as well
(Another example of this would be Hopp)

Personal Car/Bike: Extremely expensive considering the rising cost of cars in India. Add to it the rising cost of petrol, maintenance, insurance, taxes, parking costs, etc), personal cars are still at one end of the spectrum. But owning a luxury car is still a status symbol for most of us, although still not financially advisable as its a depreciating asset of high expenses

ZoomCar: Zoomcar was one of the first players in India’s self-driven car ecosystem and it does give a pleasant experience. With 32% YoY growth to 158 crore, while losses growing at a robust 10% to Rs 116 crore. (Competitors are Drivezy, Myles, ECO rent a Car … ) Zoomcar is heavily used for weekend / vacation travels in India, although it remains to be seen whether its cars can achieve high utilization to achieve profitability. Zoomcar also has a monthly rental plan

Ola/Uber: Both of these companies are the 600 pound gorilla and are now rhymes with taxi / auto / rickshaw. Its second nature for most millennials to call an Ola/Uber. Ola has approximately 59 lakh users in India and does 15 lakh rides daily. Although both companies are facing driving issues, but it appears it has it under control now.

Autos: They are still huge in India and are not going to away anytime soon. I can’t imagine India with Autowalas, even after proliferation of all the transport apps, you will see them always running on the streets. Most Tier 1 & Tier 2 cities in India have millions of Autos driving daily and solve a very important part of commute.

Rapido: Ola for Bikes, not a new concept but gaining very high popularity in India. A very convenient and affordable option but with Ola & Uber almost in the same space, its sure to get crowded. With so many apps available just for point to point travel, its just a matter of time before there will be a good aggregator who can just give me a quickest option. Although I’ve never travelled by Rapido uptil now, I have heard good things about it.

Bounce: Self-Drive Bike Ride at just Rs3/km. The most simplest idea yet, Pick and Drop anywhere. I was surprised why has it not been launched anywhere yet, extremely convenient, easy and simple. Definitely an app on my phone which is next in line to Ola and Uber. It claims around 8000 scooters on its fleets, with 4000 dockless bikes and 1.3 Million rides in 3 months. I would not be surprised if it can surpass Ola in number of rides one day, its growing faster everyday

Vogo: Almost similar to Bounce, with the only difference of dropping and picking scooters only occurs at dedicated parking lots. Still a very inexpensive way of commuting around. Ola has invested $100M seeing its strategic importance. It has about 12000 vehicles in its fleet

Quick Ride: The biggest player in Carpooling in India right now. Unless you are living under a rock, you must have heard about Quick Ride, which is a big blessing for people who travel long commutes in Bangalore. You can quickly find people from your company travelling the same route everyday. A few people I know travel daily using this app. This app will indeed go a long way in solving the traffic problems in India

Yulu: Micro-mobility solutions or last mile solutions, India’s answer to Bird and JUMP. Very efficient for distances of less than 2km. These blue bicycles and e-scooters are now available across Bangalore. Quick to find and use. Future Potential – very hard to estimate, but considering the initial investment they have made in Bangalore

Shuttl: Very awesome idea where you can get a bus at your service. The app shows you shows Shuttle bus routes and timings which you book instantly. But I am more interested in Shuttle Enterprise which can be used by companies for employee transport. Imagine the improvement in traffic if all enterprise companies in Bangalore use the same platform for employee transport for bus. Watch out for this as it can get huge

Public Transport: This would be very different for Mumbai where it can be scored very high for Convenience but Namma Metro is getting complete only in 2023. Traffic congestion can only be solved through a well connected, fast and budget-friendly mass public transportation system similar to Singapore.

Image: Press-Office City of Müenster, Germany

If public transport is done right, you won’t require most of the apps shown above. Above image captures its importance enormously

I am yet to see an yearly rental from any company where you pay ‘X’ amount for a car or bike per year to use it. One of the crucial reasons behind the auto industry collapse other than economy slowdown (Maruti Suzuki sales down by 70%) is surely this app based personal services

What does the future of travel look like for you ? Have I missed out any startup ?