Bengaluru-based YoRide is your all-in-one app for intra city travelAthira Nair
The idea of all the transport options, including local buses and metro rail, in one app is not just an idea any more.
Bengaluru-based startup Dhii Systems recently came up with an app, which aims to be the single platform for all intra-city transportation requirements. Named YoRide, this app is the ultimate window to booking rides on Ola, Uber, Fasttrack, and Mega Cabs, along with multiple local car and bike rentals, Zoom self-drive cars, as well as Jugnoo autorickshaws.
Very soon, they will be launching information on public transport entities like Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) and Namma Metro.
Founded by Murali Tirupati, 38, in 2014 in stealth mode, YoRide currently has more than 6000 users across Android and iOS platforms, with more than 200 transactions done on it on a daily basis. Murali says, “We are seeing a healthy repeat usage, with 60 percent of our users being repeat users. We now have more than 15 service providers across taxis, car rentals, auto rickshaws, and bike taxis on our platform.”
YoRide app shows the availability of cabs around you, along with price comparison. The user can make the booking on any platform in the YoRide app itself, except Uber. “The user will be redirected to Uber app for booking. If you don’t have the app you will be directed to their website. But our app shows Uber’s availability,” says Murali. Except Ola and Uber, registration is not needed for any other options.
YoRide has also partnered with the BMTC, the government-owned local bus transport service which has 50 lakh passengers per day. In the last two weeks, BMTC has fitted GPS in all their 7000 buses. YoRide will use that data to update their users on the location of the buses. “For real-time notifications, we will do crowdsourcing too. Users can check in their routes and can update it on the app so that all the users are aware of the location of that bus,” says Murali.
The long ride
An NIT Trichy graduate, Murali did his MBA from IIM-Ahmedabad and went to the US, where he worked till 2002 at iNautix Technologies. After he returned to India, Murali came to Bengaluru, where he worked with IBM and Oracle before deciding to start up.
What was the beginning of Yoride? Murali says: “My wife Chaitra was working in Outer Ring Road at the time. I had to drop her there before going to my office in Embassy Golf Links, which is more than 12 km away,” Murali says. There are cheaper and easier options – but knowing the time for a bus, or splitting fare for a taxi was hard. Murali wished for a platform in which a commuter can know every transport possibility in the location with a single tap.
But YoRide did not happen in a day. Murali’s first app was called ‘Pooler’, which facilitated ride sharing. But dissatisfied with the design, Murali launched Ryder, which connected two passengers going in the same direction for carpooling and sharing a taxi. But network economics did not work and trust issues among customers did not help the traction either.
YoRide does not provide carpooling at the moment. “Carpooling is all about the best use of existing capacity. Unless there is a huge network, it won’t work. Waiting for a vehicle which goes in the same direction would make the user dissatisfied,” says Murali. Ryder, however, got great response for the fare comparison. “We wanted to get everything in one app,” says Murali. Ryder was rebranded as YoRide in April 2016.
Roadblocks in the ride
Murali started off alone, as he knew what he wanted to build. He was particular about finding a co-founder who has complementary skills and shares his values. And he found it in Rohit Pai, former employee of IBM and UberMedia, who had earlier worked with US-based app marketing startup ‘Liftoff’.
Murali tells his story: “I made do with freelancers for a year; then I met Rohit. He ended up cleaning the mess, and I could see that he is very good in tech and had entrepreneurial ability in him. He came on board officially in 2014.”
A common challenge facing the taxi aggregator industry is – you guessed it – the regulatory frameworks. As YoRide plays no role in determining the fares, they do not have to worry about the complications which Ola and Uber found themselves in. But YoRide has partnered with taxi operators too; license application is in the process for that. “Apart from providing point to point taxi drops, we are also providing hourly taxi packages through these taxis,” Murali adds. YoRide will soon start providing driver hires via DriveU and two wheeler rentals with iRYD.
YoRide is the next generation of transportation technology aggregators – a ‘super aggregator’. There are similar apps like Cabsguru and Scoot, which provide multiple cabs booking options, and carpooling enablers like PoolCircle; but YoRide allows the user to book it on their app as well as provides public transport information. In fact, even the world’s largest social network – Facebook -- has taken to this idea. A recent partnership between Uber and Facebook lets Uber users book a cab via Facebook Messenger app.
The competition for YoRide will surely rise. Revenue model and unique selling proposition will be their key to success. YoRide generates revenue from the commissions they receive from the car aggregator and taxi partners -- about 10-15 percent of each ride’s fare.
Having started with an initial investment of Rs75 lakh, YoRide is hoping to raise Rs 4 crore. “In July, we will go to investors. Currently, we are marketing only in Bengaluru, but our services on aggregators are available across the country,” Murali says.
It has been a long ride, and the journey is surely bound to get more interesting. Murali has one message for entrepreneurs: “Don’t build the entire vision on day one. Wait for the customer response to further evolve.” Rome was not built in a day, after all.