Gurgaon-based carpooling app Orahi has raised an angel round of Rs 3.5 crore from Indian Angel Network. The home-office-home carpooling platform will invest the amount in platform building, marketing and team expansion.
Sameer Khanna, Co-founder and CEO, Orahi, says, “Owing to Delhi government’s odd-even rule and many responsible citizens’ concerns, the demand for carpooling has reached its peak. The investment has come at a crucial time. With this investment, we are planning to build the platform squarely.”
He adds that the platform currently has 35,000 registered users. He wishes to build the team from the current 15, to 40 people. He will also consolidate the platform via marketing in cities like Chennai, Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.
Launched in March 2013, Orahi (earlier known as FolksVagn) saves the hassle of exchanging money, and provides riders flexibility similar to when you use your own vehicle. It works on the wallet feature. It charges Rs 3.50 per kilometre from each passenger, and keeps the amount in escrow until the ride is finished and it is approved by both parties. Rs 3 is paid to the owner of the car and the remaining 50 paise is charged by Orahi. The app shows all the people riding on a user's route and he can select the person he wants to travel with. There is no membership fee, and charges are on per-ride basis.
On investment, Vinish Kathuria of India Angel Network says, “We see a good potential in the platform and the team. Orahi has been able to do good business in the past two-and-a-half years.”
On the industry, he adds that the on-demand economy, macro-economic trend and people's conditioning have all made a positive shift. Today, the market is conducive for a platform like Orahi.
Market and competition
According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers report, the global carpooling market is estimated at $15 billion today, a figure that is projected to hit $335 billion by 2025.
MeBuddie, PoolCircle and CarPoolAdda are some of the players in the carpooling business. Brazilian Tripda and French BlaBlaCar are the giants in the segment.
Last year, BlaBlaCar raised $100 million in funding from Accel Partners and Index Ventures to explore emerging markets, including India, Brazil and Turkey. The online service that connects private car owners with commuters for long-distance travel launched in India in January this year.
The sudden environmental concern has revived the buzz around carpooling business in the country.
In the past few days, players like Uber and Ola have also focussed their attention on this particular area. These developments will surely grab the investor attention.
We will be witnessing many acquisitions as well. Last year, car rental company Carzonrent acquired Bengaluru-based ride-sharing portal RidingO for an undisclosed amount. We can expect more acquisitions in the coming days, with international biggies acquiring local players.