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Voler revs up to give competition in promising car rental space


In recent years, on-demand self-drive car rental market has gone under huge transformation. Rising urban population, growth in personal disposable income and growing preference towards car travels for long distance leisure trips has provided spurt to the market growth.

Vikas Parasrampuria, Founder and CEO, Voler
Vikas Parasrampuria, Founder and CEO, Voler

In the growing market, self-drive car rental companies are experimenting to offer better services to the users. From building technology on the platform to add new services, the development is the part of the growing market. Although the market is already filled with various service providers, yet the introduction of new players in this segment hasn’t seized. According to the industry experts, the concept of self-drive car rental has been around for a while now, however, the market for self-drive is still at a nascent stage in the country.

Launched in August this year by Vikas Parasrampuria, Voler, a self-funded platform is a new player in the self-drive car rental segment eyes the growing demand and the huge market opportunity.

“We aim to reach consumers and offer them an alternative to owning a car. Our services are far more affordable and accessible. Traditionally, self-drive companies ask their customers to come at their pickup locations to rent a car. While we intend to change this age-old tradition by reaching the customer at their doorstep and collecting the car back once the trip is done,” says Vikas, Founder and CEO, Voler.

Safety is important

It claims to take care of the safety of its consumers. From providing airbags fitted cars to 24*7 customer support service to roadside assistance to users, which cover them for all breakdowns, accidents and emergencies, it ensures complete safety.

“While we make our services accessible with our low cost delivery model, we also understand how important the use of technology is. All our cars are already wired with sophisticated black box, which gives us inputs on a real time basis about the car, its speed, location, and several other important parameters ensuring the safety of the user. Our black box is also capable of reading our user’s driving style, whereby helping us rate our consumers like Uber and getting its users rated by its driver, and vice versa. This data will help us plan loyalty programs and offer better discounts to our users in the future,” says Vikas.

Company’s growth graph

In its first month of operations, it claims to have registered 500+ users on its platform and serviced more than 4000+ hours in the first 20 days of its launch. They expect to grow at rate of 80 per cent each month and expect to service 16,000+ hours in the month of September 2015.

Revenue of Voler, which comes from the rental of cars and accessories, expects to reach in access of Rs 35 crores in the current fiscal, according to the company.

“There are only 3000 to 4000 cars in India offered under the self-drive space and is miniscule when compared to the number of cars offered in the developed economies. Self-drive will become a way of life in India and Voler will be actively contributing to the sector. We aim to grow 5x every year until the next five years and become the largest in the personal urban mobility space. With an investment of around USD $1 million, Voler Cars aims of pan India expansion and increase in fleet to 1000 cars in the next six months, Voler has launched its operations in Delhi,” says Vikas.

Addressing challenges

The industry is at a nascent stage and to create awareness about the self-drive car rental enterprise model is one of the major challenges. Regulatory challenges, brand building, streamline payments process, and to gain customers’ trust are some of the major challenges in this segment.

“We plan to overcome these challenges by hiring the right kind of talent for the business with skills to match growing customer expectations. By providing exceptional service which will create brand value and leveraging our knowledge of the industry and operational expertise in this field,” says Vikas.

Market and competition

According to Ken Research, the Indian car rental market revenues will grow at a considerable CAGR rate and is expected to touch Rs 800 billion by 2019. The growth is largely driven by increasing penetration of Internet and mobile apps.

The market for car rental has been dominated by unorganised players with a market share of 70 per cent in terms of revenue during fiscal year 2015. However, the scenario is changing rapidly. It has been observed that car rental services majorly offer chauffeur drive, and this is where self-drive car rental service have emerged as a suitable option. In India, self-drive space has only a few thousand cars, whereas in developed economies it’s about 1.5 to two million cars. There is a lot of room for competition to coexist.

Since 2013, the market for self-driven cars in India has observed emergence of global players such as Avis, Hertz, and several others.The market for self-drive cars is competitive due to presence of players such as Carzonrent, Avis India, Myles, Zoomcar, and a few new entrants.

Voler competes with Sequoia-funded Zoomcar, Carzonrent, and Revv among a host of unorganised car rental operators. Interestingly, all the aforementioned startups had secured funding. While Zoomcar snapped up $11 million last month, Carzonrent raised INR 80 crore from Sidbi Venture Capital, WestBridge Capital, and others. Revv had raised a seed round last week from newly-hired CEO of Myntra, more than 10 directors and partners from McKinsey and others.

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About the author

A Journalist, bookworm, foodie, and traveller. Tausif is an avid learner of history and philosophy, and shows deep interest in world affairs. He can be reached on Twitter @aalampanaaah and on mail at tausif@yourstory.com

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