Did you know that while Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Kolkata account for five per cent of India's population, the registered vehicles in these cities account for 14 per cent of the vehicle population?
Traffic jams and delays are believed to cost the country, billions of rupees every year. Whether we are late for a business meeting, an appointment, or even a movie - each one of us has been on the wrong side of a traffic jam.
It was a harrowing traffic experience that prompted Abhishek Talwar and Rajat Talwar to start Poolmyride. Abhishek had secured a new job a job in Sohna Road, Gurgaon, which was close to 40 km away from where he lived in Rajouri Garden. After spending most of his time in traffic jams every day, Abhishek was frustrated and decided to do something about the problem. Two weeks later, he resigned and started Poolmyride, a ride sharing app.
Rajat, also a co-founder, and Abhishek’s brother, was working for Amazon, in Bengaluru, at that point of time. When Abhishek told him about the new app, Rajat was excited and he decided to develop an iOS version. He, too, quit his job to work on Poolmyride. "With the 59th version of Poolmyride now available on Google Playstore, we've come a long way in developing the best user experience and intelligent ride sharing app," says Abhishek.
On the 6th of December 2014 Poolmyride got selected by Carma Axl8r a kickstarter program in UK. This program was funded by SOS ventures. The team received a kickstart funding of USD 25000 for seven per cent equity and an opportunity to attend the program in UK for three months.
"We've worked on building a product that is highly intelligent. While building the product we always had a vision - to connect the travellers through an elegant and easy to use user interface," adds Abhishek.
Another part of the company vision was to become a global platform for ride-sharing. He adds that with Poolmyride, one can not only carpooling but also find a cab-pooling partner.
Their main USP is that Poolmyride is an open platform which connects groups of people travelling along the same route. Even if a user forgets to log into the app beforehand, Abhishek claims that the app is intelligent enough to notify the user if there is another potential co-passenger nearby who is travelling in same direction.
Creating the app
Abhishek says that, initially, since they haven’t been funded yet, they knew that they simply had to build a great product. He adds that developing and coding became like unravelling the mysteries of the world, and they kept the learning curve high.
From simple things like getting graphics and vector images to learning major platforms like nodeJS and AngularJs, they did it all. Being aggressive in developing the best app possible, paid off last week when Google placed their app on top of the list of keywords for carpool, car pool and cabpool.
They claim to not only become number one on Playstore and App Store in India, but in the US,UK, and Germany, as well.
The app is free to use, currently. However, the team is in talks with major cab vendors to bring shared cab booking on the platform. Once a user creates a carpool on Poolmyride, the app allows the user to redeem a coupon, which could even be a coupon from a CCD outlet that falls on the route. This is an example of the kind of strategic partnerships they are looking for with retail businesses specialized in coupons and deals.
Market and growth
According to Abhishek there is a new carpool which is searched on Poolmyride, every five seconds. He also claims to have more than 50,000 screen views in a month. Their new user base is growing at about 250 per cent every month.
Abhishek says that the team is constantly developing more intelligent features; like feature rich notifications. Soon, they intend to have an app on Google Wear and iWatch.
They are also planning to integrate the share trip feature through which a user can share their trip (with their friends and family on Whatsapp / Facebook) and get constant location updates of the user. "It's like a virtual guardian," says Abhishek.
They are also looking to work with great startups like mobikwik to enable users to split the costs while carpooling through Poolmyride, by using an e-wallet.
The market for ride-sharing is growing with apps like Bla Bla Car, Poolcircle and many others. With the number of vehicles and people on the road literally exploding, the need for such apps is becoming imperative.