Daily commute can frustrate even the most resilient among us. To make life easy for commuters and drivers of auto rickshaws and cabs, India Drivers Network, a Bangalore-based social enterprise launched a commuting service called mGaadi.
mGaadi is building a location-based network of commercial drivers, including auto rickshaw drivers, which is powered by customer ratings. Its mission is to dramatically improve the quality of commuting in Indian cities while delivering livelihood and social security services to drivers.
It is founded by Solomon Prakash and Vishy Kuruganti. Solomon is a serial social entrepreneur, since 1989, he has founded Maya Organic, Labournet, Prajayatna, and was also India country head for Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, between 2010 and 2012. Vishy is a technologist who worked for Nokia, Yahoo, Adobe, and founder of Graspr and Techsangam.com.
How does mGaadi work?
When you need a rickshaw just call (080) 6768 4983 and you will be connected with the nearest rickshaw driver who will pick you up from your location. The rickshaw driver will charge you as per the meter (between 10 pm and 6 am you will be charged one-and-a-half rate) and you will have to pay Rs 10 extra for pickup service. An app for Android has already been released and in the next months also Windows Phone and iPhone version will be ready.
Rickshaw drivers can join the mGaadi group in three ways: by calling the call center and indicating their location, through a locator which can be purchased with a deposit of Rs 2000, or through a smart phone app with all these features integrated.
The social enterprise behind the app
mGaadi is not just an app, there is an important social enterprise environment around it. According to Solomon, “We created India Drivers Network because we wanted to make commuting reliable for customers and driving a reliable source of income for drivers.”
There is a general assumption that auto rickshaw drivers harass customers. “We believe that there are at least as many honest rickshaw drivers in Bangalore,” says Solomon, adding, “We don’t think we can change behaviour. We believe that customers can. We are just creating a transparent space to make this happen, just the way TripAdvisor does. We want to be a TripAdvisor for rickshaw drivers and we believe customer ratings are a good way to have better service.”
Challenges and future plans
Five hundred rickshaw drivers have joined mGaadi and the goal is to get 10,000 by December 2014. Their plan is to scale up the service in Bangalore and then to expand to other cities in India. “We are two experienced beginners. We were entrepreneurs, but we have never done another mGaadi, and that’s completely new for us. Obviously we’ve learnt important lessons from the past which is helping us a lot,” explained Solomon.
Advice for aspiring entrepreneurs
Having a good idea is important, but you need to execute that idea well. That’s why self esteem and knowledge of the industry is important for any entrepreneur.
To know more about mGaadi check their website
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