The morning rush to get on an auto just to get turned down, double metres, extra 20 or 30 rupees – are all perils of hailing an auto in India. Autos are amongst the most commonly used and unfortunately distrusted modes of transports in India. While the Ubers of the world are taking on the taxi industry, many believe aggregating the autorickshaws is equally important in India. It was to organise this otherwise disorganised sector that AUTOnCAB was launched.
While rushing to drop her daughter to the metro station, Vinti Doshi, Co-founder of AUTOnCAB, was surprised that some areas of Gurgaon, where she lives, are still disconnected in terms of safe and reliable public transport. She would wonder if there was a convenient way to board an auto with just a tap on your smartphone.
The idea germinated from there to transform the way an average Indian commuter hails and uses a rather unorganised public transport service like an auto. It also helps everyday auto drivers streamline the way they get business in a diverse market like India. AUTOnCAB simply works to connect the commuter and the auto driver with an app that can be used on any smartphone.
Uberization of everything
Vinti says that AUTOnCAB is focussed on the needs and demands of both the auto-drivers and commuters. "We don't treat autos as just another vehicle of commute. It's a strong business driver for the auto community as well," adds Vinti. Through the hyper local delivery platform the team is looking at ways in which they can help auto driver monetize his time and availability better, in addition to getting more rides. They are providing the drivers with ancillary income options through related means, like logistics/delivery services. The team is also working on creating a multi-lingual app.
During conversations, Vinti found that Alok Sawhney, who had a strong background in the travel industry, was toying with the idea of providing an auto rickshaw to a customer through a GPS-based platform. Soon, Suren who had entrepreneurial experience in the US, joined the duo as their third Co-founder.
Traction and growth
AUTOnCAB has been operational since September 2014 in Gurgaon. The team claims that over 15000 customers have downloaded the app till date and the team records over 1000 transactions a day. More than 90 percent of their rides are from repeat or existing customers. As of now, over 700 drivers have registered on the app.
The team is currently testing its delivery services with over 500 drivers. In the pilot, they are doing over 100 deliveries a day and are tying up with e-commerce platforms, supermarket chains, and standalone outlets for need-based delivery. AUTOnCAB has also received a recent angel funding worth $ 400,000 apart from a previous amount of USD one million. They follow a fixed cost per transaction from the driver.
Without doubt, the auto market is one of the biggest in the country with over two million in the country, and drives averaging at Rs.80. There are other players in the market that are focussed on monetising this mode of transport like Ola Auto and Autowale.
Vinti says, “With a total market size of approximately $12 billion, capturing even 10 per cent makes it a very attractive proposition. At present, the market is unsaturated in terms of competition, making it open to all possibilities. We do see some entrants in this space, but we are confident of having the first mover advantage, our business model and a strong humane relationship with all our stakeholders.”
The team intends to expand to Noida and a few other cities shortly. They are also working on integrating the delivery service model into their existing business within Gurgaon and then replicating the same in the next key cities that they go live in.
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