DriveU, a Bengaluru-based on-demand driver aggregator, has acquired Gurgaon-based CallAtHome, an on-demand driver service provider, for an undisclosed amount. The startup plans to get strong hold of the commutation services in Gurgaon and over 500 driver partners across India with the acquisition.
Rahm Shastry, Co-founder and CEO of DriveU, states that it was an all-cash deal and will be completed in two tranches. The first payment has already been made and the second one will be done in another 30 days.
According to Rahm, Gurgaon has the third highest per capita income in the country with an abundance of Fortune 500 companies and shopping malls.
Betting on technology-enabled driver
DriveU enhances the on-road commute experience by providing technology-enabled and verified drivers for a consumer’s personal vehicle.
Customers can book and track the nearest available partner-driver on the DriveU App or its website. Once a booking is confirmed, all necessary information such as driver’s name, picture, rating, phone number, distance from the user’s location, and the estimated time of arrival will be provided to the customer.
Uniformed partner-drivers equipped with seat covers and floor mats arrive at a customer’s doorstep to drive them off. Its detailed driver rating and feedback system allows customers to share feedback on the service.
DriveU charges customers a fee of Rs 99 per hour. It charges surge price of Rs 50 to 250 for one way between 9 pm and 7 am.
DriveU brings together customers with their own vehicles who need a trusted partner-driver. We ensure that customers get an accessible, safe, transparent, and economical ride. DriveU so far has served 30,000 trips to over 12,000 satisfied customers, of which over 60 per cent are women,” says Rahm.
DriveU was founded in July 2015 by Ashok Shastry, Rahm Shastry, and Amulmeet Chadha. It currently has 350 drivers across Bengaluru, Chennai, Mumbai, and New Delhi and will now add the 150 partner-drivers of CallAtHome. Currently, it has 51 employees and is growing at a rate of 30–40 per cent month-on-month in revenue. In February this year, DriveU has grabbed seed investment from Unitus Seed Fund to expand to new markets and attract new customers.
DriveU plans to increase the number of drivers to 1,000 by the end of this year and to be present in 10 metro cities by early 2017.
“CallAtHome has provided unmatched customer experience based on App Store and Facebook reviews. DriveU having services in South Delhi was looking to expand into Gurgaon area. We are happy that CallAtHome is part of their equation,” remarks Satyendra Singh, Co-founder and CMO of CallAtHome. Started in July 2015 by Alok Inamdar, Satyendra Singh, and Anubhav Sood, CallAtHome has done over 7,000 bookings serving 2,000 customers.
Market at a glance
The growing need of verified and professional drivers coupled with increasing number of car ownership came as a boon for on-demand driver solution providers. According to an industry estimate, the average level of ownership will increase to 35 cars per 1,000 people by 2025.
With 25 drivers on payroll and around 80 drivers work on freelance basis, Gurgaon-based Drivebud offers an alternative to hiring full-time drivers. It has witnessed more than 1,500 registered users so far.
Founded in September 2015 by an IIM Calcutta alumnus Vinit Srivastava, Chennai-based Driverskart does 4,000 rides per month and aims to reach over 10,000 rides a day by the end of this year. Its app has seen over 5,000 downloads so far.
The collaboration of DriveU and CallAtHome marks the first Merger & Acquisition deal in the On-demand driver services market in India. With a very few players in this space, it would be too early to comment on the possibility of similar deals in near future.