Foreigner duo startup Zoom to accelerate the self-drive concept in India
Greg Moran has been in India for more than two years now. Fascinated by the country, he wanted to play a larger role in the development of the nation and he found alignment in thoughts with friend and business partner, David Back. Settling down in Bangalore, the two have decided to start off by contributing toward the transportation problem in the metros. Their solution is Zoom– a self-drive car provider.
Zoom is a membership-based, hyper-local self-drive service that allows individuals to hire cars by the hour or by the day. To become a member, one needs to make an account with the contact information and uploading a photo of driver’s license after which a car can be booked via the web or a mobile app. Currently maintaining a fleet of 7 cars (Ford Figo’s and Mahindra Scorpio’s) in Bangalore, the service has been formally live since February 14th when they kicked off with a launch event in Malleshwaram, Bangalore. The current pricing is INR 199 per hour and INR 1999 for a day for a Figo and this includes the fuel cost (more on their pricing).
Greg has dedicated his entire career to sustainable development across the globe while David has worked as a consultant at McKinsey & Co and as an investment manager at Goldman Sachs. Greg and David have been raising funds for the service and have been able to raise more than $200k in convertible debt from high net worth investors in the US, UK and India and groups like the Empire Angel Group and a group of UK-based investors led by Lady Judge. Helping them with operations is their COO, Bharath Nathan who has had more than 14 years of experience in the car rental space and Srinivas Rao who has more than 18 years of experience in the car rental domain advises them. Based out of Bangalore, Zoom has a dedicated call center for their services and an on-the-ground team that helps with pick-ups and drop offs bringing the total team strength to 10.
“As of now, we’ve had over 80 reservations either completed or confirmed for the future. We’ve had a total of 8 repeat customers and 15 direct referrals from members who have already used the service,” says Greg. Receiving a good response, they’ve had to cut down on their marketing plans till they can accommodate the current requests and are under way to doubling the fleet size within a month.
Right up next would be expansion plans into South Bangalore and then expand throughout the city before venturing into Mumbai and Delhi. “We’re still targeting June/July as the timeframe where we would like to raise formal venture capital that would allow us to really expand in a major way,” says Greg.
Relying very heavily on good service, all Zoom vehicles come with full fuel tanks when a customer picks it up and Zoom also covers all fuel charges (either with a check or Zoom driver credit) if the customer needs to refuel midway. Currently tackling a ‘good problem to have’- that of managing the customer inflow, going forward Zoom also intends to automate the stations (places from where people pick up Zoom cars) so that minimum human intervention is required. Maintaining the vehicles to ensure their longevity and then replicating the model to other cities is where the bigger game lies for the success of Zoom.
[Check out the flurry India saw in terms of funding cab rental companies]