Going by meter, Namma Auto made auto rides in Tamil Nadu affordable much before Ola Auto was introduced in the state. Although Namma Auto became an instant success, Mansoor Ali Khan, the man behind the initiative, is not well known.
Originally from Madurai, 28-year-old Mans00r was raised in Trichy, where he completed his education. Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, he always wanted to be on the giving end of employment and salaries but did not have the support of his two elder brothers. In his words,
“They laughed at me. They thought I didn’t have it in me to be an entrepreneur or start a business venture on my own. But the belief I had in myself overpowered their mistrust.”
With only a few thousands as investment, he started a computer repair shop where he soon started selling computers as well. Though the venture was profitable, he was not content. In search of something more challenging and engaging, when he heard his friends complaining about high and unaffordable auto fares, he knew what he had to do.
He bought 15 autos with which he started Namma Auto in Chennai, making safe and affordable commutes in autos a reality.
A few years later, he had to distance himself from Namma Auto for personal reasons. Not letting it halt his entrepreneurial spree, he launched Makkal Auto, otherwise known as M Auto. Under this aggregator platform, for the first time in India, autos have panic buttons and video telecasting features. Despite the features, it is affordable, just like Namma Auto.
Taking it one step further, a few months ago, Mansoor launched Women Pride Ride. These autos are run by women, for women. The auto drivers are chosen from economically vulnerable sections of society and are given the necessary training. Although presently restricted to Chennai on a pilot basis, Mansoor has plans to take this initiative all over India.
Read this in Tamil.