How Turbo AI is redefining the taxi sector in the UK with its Bengaluru tech arm
Nottingham-based Turbo AI is a ride-sharing platform for private vehicles operating in the UK.
At a Glance
Startup: Turbo AI
Founder: Jude Tharakan and Ravindra Khare
Year it was founded: 2017
Where it is based: Nottingham
The problem it solves: is a ride-sharing platform
Funding raised: Bootstrapped
Mentorship and guidance are crucial when one thinks of starting up. It helps to a great extent to validate your concept, and refine the process as a whole. What happened with Jude Thakaran, 30, and founder of Turbo AI, was no different.
Jude explains, “I had very limited resources in the beginning when I started the concept of Turbo AI. Ingenuity Lab (Innovation Lab at The University of Nottingham) helped me understand about the startup ecosystem in the UK, marketplaces, niche technologies, collaborating with peers and spending time with people from different backgrounds and diverse experiences.”
The experience at Ingenuity Lab motivated Jude and pushed him towards product innovation. “I had the idea for Turbo AI chalked out in my mind, but the execution was the most important. It became a reality only because of help from mentors, peer groups and alumni from The University of Nottingham, University of Oxford and IIT Bombay.”
Riding the wave
Turbo AI is a ride-sharing platform for private vehicles operating all over the UK. It was incubated at the Ingenuity Lab, University of Nottingham.
The startup has partnered with around 75 providers with around 10,000 cabs in the UK and currently does not have an on-demand feature but works on pre-booked orders through its website and phone.
Jude says, “We are up to 45 percent cheaper than any cabs in the UK and are working on our own application. Our tech team is based in Bengaluru, which manages the helpline and operations and the dispatch optimisation works on the AI Algorithmic Framework.”
Jude has always been passionate about learning new technologies, especially Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data Analytics, Cloud Computing and Artificial Intelligence.
He began working on the concept in 2015, and found a co-founder in his friend Ravindra Khare (26) who is now Chief Technology Innovation Officer at the company.
Ravindra completed his Aeronautical Space Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT-B). Prior to starting up, he had worked with ISRO, Kalam High Tech Education, Eliphaz Financial consultants and Future IIT Academy.
Jude has an MBA degree (early bird scholar) from The University of Nottingham, is Alumni of Said Business School, Oxford University and Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT-B). He also has over eight years of experience working with corporate entities like Goldman Sachs, BNP Paribas, TCS BaNCS and MVNO British Telecom (BT).
Turbo AI has a team of 20 based in London, Nottingham, and Bengaluru.
It offers saloon cars, estate cars, MPVs, MPV+ vehicles, eight seaters - Mercedes-Benz Viano, Mercedes-Benz Vito - and VIP Executive - Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Audi A4, BMW 5 Series, Range Rover Sport - services to and from major airports, seaports, stations and group transportation with B2C and B2B clients (travel operators, hotels, corporate houses, and universities) all over the UK.
It is currently bootstrapped. It charges a percentage from both the user and driver partners based on the distance covered.
According to Statista’s research for the United Kingdom, the revenue in the ride-sharing segment amounts to $2,244 million in 2018 so far, and is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2018-2022) of 11.7 percent resulting in a market volume of $3,490 million in 2022.
Currently, the Turbo AI team is trying to understand customer behavioral analytics and customer spending habits so that it can strategise its operations accordingly.
“So far, we have achieved this process through trial and error, determining what works best for the specific business organisations and the locations in which we operate. Our plan for this year is to increase customer base by 40 percent through superior performance, word-of-mouth referrals, loyalty programmes, tie-ups with universities, hotels, travel organisations, and corporate companies,” says Jude.
Future plans for Turbo AI most include short-term goals to increase visibility through online promotions, and offline through participation in targeted events.
The company’s long-term plan is to create a service-based technology company whose primary goal is to exceed customers’ expectations, develop and maintain a sustainable technology transportation company serving all main locations in the UK and Europe. By the end of this year, Turbo AI will be entering markets in Paris, Milan, and Frankfurt.