Raghu Khanna was always interested in driving. While pursuing an electronics engineering degree from IIT Guwahati he developed a model for Drowsy Driver Detecting --- a system enabling the detection of non alert or drowsy drivers. The uniqueness of this idea saw him as one of the twenty finalists in the Philips Simplicity challenge at the beginning of the year. Here he met 19 other finalists with entrepreneurial zeal, who wanted to do their own thing, and this inspired him to do his own thing.
As soon as he got his engineering degree he got an offer from an IT company in Bangalore, and simultaneously received admission at London School of Economics for a Masters degree. He had his visa and his tickets were booked, but then he decided to pursue his passion and try to translate what was playing in his mind into reality, thus taking the proverbial entrepreneurial plunge.
He founded CASHurDRIVE, India's first on-vehicle advertisement website. "We are pleased to introduce ourselves as the nation's first and only On-Vehicle Advertising company. CASHurDRIVE aims to ease the burden of rising fuel cost and soaring inflation rates. After you register with us at www.cashurdrive.com you can earn while driving normally --- no change in mileage, no additional driving. Just do what you do each day of week and earn! While car owners will get fuel for putting advertisements on their cars, advertisers will be able to take advantage of this new and unexplored medium of advertisement. The motto of our company is: "Get Seen, Get Paid"!"
Sure sounds good, but how does that work? CASHurDRIVE works closely with advertisers to select the best car owners from across India. "The thing that makes the mobile advertising idea work is satellite tracking, or Vehicle tracking System which measures the accountability for clients. The system is installed in the cars, at the same time they are wrapped which helps to monitor the "wheelboard", making sure that the brand is not in any wear or tear form and is forming an impression on the customer's mind as it is supposed to do. Our friendly customer support executives, personal business managers and a dedicated Call Centre make sure that our clients are given the utmost importance. Our partner fuel station HPCL and BPCL on pan-India level act as random check-up camps to ensure that the brand is in proper condition. The car owners will receive a pre-loaded magnetic card at the start of the campaign using which they can receive free fuel at the fuel stations."
This unusual idea came to him, says Raghu Khanna, CEO of CASHurDRIVE, while he was in an all-too-familiar setting: while he was caught in a traffic jam. "An idea to convert traffic into business opportunities came to me when I was driving and got stuck in traffic. The funny slogan behind trucks and vinyl stickers on police jeeps kept me busy and I couldn't take my eyes off it. The idea to charge advertisers to put their messages on privately owned vehicles clicked me."
Auto Graphics Digital, Bangalore, is working with CASHurDRIVE as their print partner. The car owners need not worry about getting the paint of the car spoilt after removal of the vinyl films. Auto Graphics Digital provides an unparalleled range of digital printing services across the industry. "With this small step we not only benefit the car owner and advertiser but also the environment by shrinking the big carbon footprint because we are advertising on vehicles that are already on the road, which means we are not using energy or natural resources to promote the product or service. The result is a greater environmental public image and the real world impact of reducing carbon footprint."
The CASHurDRIVE Group will soon launch Online Viral campaigns, Social Networking Deployments and cell phone call back brand campaigns. Its business model is well validated with funding from VC Hunt. CASHurDRIVE has a growing client list, with the 'Virgin Mobile, Friends Forever' series already advertising in certain belts. Presently the company operates out of Chandigarh, Mohali (SAS Nagar), Panchkula and parts of Himachal Pradesh, as well as Delhi and Gurgaon, and plans are afoot to spread out across India.
Such big plans can surely be difficult to put into action, but Raghu Khanna does not intend to rest on his laurels, drawing strength to face the daily trials of entrepreneurship from his family. His father, a professor, inculcated strong values in him and inspired him to always look at excelling in whatever he undertook, while his mother, who runs her own business, is a role model. Whenever he has a tough day at work, she reminds him of the fact that Rome
was not built in a day. And the work is challenging, since for him everything is hands-on: not only is he the CEO, but he also has had to contribute materially in other aspects of the business venture, as a strategist, sales person, CFO, accounts manager, content writer and so on.
The work is also exciting, though, and the desire to be a national Indian brand of the same stature as Google, Facebook and Orkut --- none of which are of Indian origin but nevertheless helps makes our life easier --- drives Raghu Khanna on. It is his wish that CASHurDRIVE should one day connect people from all over India at par with these big names, and thus empower Indians and enrich their lives.