WATCH: Zoomcar CEO reveals how the car rental platform has carved a niche despite the challenges and competition
In his Zoomcar T-shirt, Greg Moran, Co-founder and CEO, talks about the ups and downs the company has faced over its seven-year journey, and how it was to start up at a time when the concept of car rentals didn’t exist.Sindhu Kashyaap
It has been seven years since Greg Moran and David Beck started an online car rental platform in Bengaluru. David exited the company in 2012, the same year it was started, and Greg took on the mantle alone.
Today, the Bengaluru-based car rental platform has a presence in 45 cities across the country, and has tie-ups with the likes of Mahindra & Mahindra, Ford, and Tata Motors. It has also raised close $103 million in funding.
Watch the full video interview below
“The personal mobility segment in India is fast growing and we saw it to be a segment that needed the most disruption,” says Greg. But the journey has most certainly has had its challenges.
Getting the licences
To start its car rental business in India, Zoomcar needed a licence, and could not get one as - being a new startup - it did not own any assets. According to the Contract Carriage Permit, a business needs to own a fleet, or tie up with an owner of a fleet. Also, vehicles in the fleet need to have yellow licence plates, indicating commercial use.
Add to that, they had already received seed funding, and tied up with several car makers for a fleet. The way around was to work with an existing player that had a licence. From there, Zoomcar has evolved to now having a ZAP subscription service, several tie-ups, and had even ventured into cycle rentals.
Over the last few years, while Zoomcar has continued to rent out cars on an hourly basis, it has also brought in several changes. Today, one can have a car delivered to their location; it has also added airport locations.
Early last year it launched ZAP Subscribe, which allows customers to subscribe a car for a fixed tenure of 6 to 36 months without the hassles of downpayment, car loan and maintenance or insurance cost.
“The only way we have been able to stay ahead of the curve is by keeping our laser-sharp focus on the vehicle rental space and business. Whether it is cars or two-wheelers, we believe that in personal mobility there is a shift from ownership. That will not move towards the taxi industry but more towards self-drive or rental,” Greg says.
Bringing in the technology play
The platform currently has a fleet of over 7000 vehicles, a mix of company owned and ZAP Subscribe vehicles. Its customer base is more than two million. The company has also launched Cadabra, a full-stack solution to transform its fleet into Internet of Things (IoT) -enabled vehicles. Currently, ZAP has a total subscriber base of over 14 million.
Equipped with Bluetooth and 4G cellular connectivity, Cadabra tracks real-time in-car data and driver behaviour, including fuel levels, braking pattern, inconsistent acceleration, seat belt usage and engine health. Any anomaly in driver behaviour emits a harsh sound, leading to alertness and reducing accidents.
Zoomcar is now looking closely at electric vehicles, and will soon launch two-wheelers under the segment. Greg says they will be able to create a large fleet of electric vehicles by the end of this year.