Incepted at Christ College, bike rental startup Ontrack Technologies wants to solve Bengaluru’s daily commute problem
Continued research shows that the quality or productivity of your day depends on how you spend the mornings. The daily commute to work, usually marked by delays and stress, isn’t the best way to maximise your morning and can take you completely off-track.
Keen to change this is Bengaluru-based two-wheeler rental startup Ontrack Technologies. Incepted in 2016 in the classrooms of Christ College, Bengaluru, Ontrack aims to provide users with an agile, swift, and more independent mode of transportation.
Ontrack entered the B2C monthly rental space in 2017, and claims to manage the fourth-largest fleet in the country. It also has a B2B model, partnering with Swiggy and Nestaway.
Starting from classroom
Harshit Sonthalia, 24, a BBA student of Christ College, wanted to own a bike. His requirement was not for the thrill of freedom, but solely to escape Bengaluru’s infamous traffic. But he neither had the money to purchase a bike or to routinely splurge on cabs and meter-less autos.
“My personal struggle and travel stories of my fellow batchmates made me realise how we were all in the same boat,” Harshit says.
He soon convinced his father to buy him a bike and decided to rent it out to his friends. Word soon started spreading across campus, and Harshit convinced his father to buy him another scooter.
One bike became two, and today, along with Co-founder Vansh Jain, 22, the duo has built a fleet of 1,500 two-wheelers in Bengaluru. Vansh, also a BBA graduate, was Harshit’s classmate in college.
Ontrack is now a 21-employee team segregated into five departments: Management, Finance, Operations, Technology, and Marketing. It also hires interns and consultants, when necessary.
Employing the rental model
Ontrack offers a catalogue of 15 models of motorcycles and scooters to its users; from brands including Hero, Bajaj, Honda, TVS, and Aprilia.
It runs on a monthly subscription model. The consumers get to select and rent a bike for a month, and payment - ranging between Rs 2,850 and Rs 5,000 (based on the model) - is also made on a monthly basis.
Users get an option to repeat, swap, and even pause their subscriptions. “We also offer long-term plans so that they get to rent a bike for three, six, and even 12 months, at a discounted price,” Harshit says. “We also allow extension of their subscription plan by up to seven days,” he adds.
During the subscription period, the startup manages the bike servicing and maintenance.
Ontrack targets young professionals, college students, and ecommerce executives.
“We did start with a B2B model by partnering with companies such as Swiggy and Nestaway, and leveraged the network to create opportunities in the space of on-demand delivery. However, currently we are more focused on the B2C model,” Harshit says.
Initially bootstrapped, Ontrack raised a funding round at the end of 2017 to branch out of B2B. “At that point, we were 94 percent B2B. Today, we are 98 percent B2C, we are more obsessed with our consumers,” Harshit says.
With a current user base of 35,000, Ontrack has served over 6,000 users since inception. They manage more than 1,500 two-wheelers in Bengaluru, of which 80 percent are sourced via asset-light techniques such as leasing.
Working on a prepaid service model, like data plans on mobile, Ontrack offers unlimited kilometres. Its revenue has grown 180 times from Rs 25,000 a month, initially.
“Supply has been the biggest challenge for us. The assets (bikes) are pretty expensive. We couldn’t buy the entire inventory that we manage - loans wouldn’t fulfil our desire. We kept a tab on newer technologies and the constant evolution in the accessibility zone shaping the two-wheeler landscape today. The biggest challenge has been to continuously mould our business dynamics to meet the requirements of this transformational curve,” Harshit explains.
Ontrack presently manages assets worth Rs 10 crore, and its objective is to “see this grow by 10x in the next 24 months”. According to the founders, the startup is currently cash positive.
The bike-sharing market
The bike sharing market has grown tremendously over the years in India. In fact, the micro-mobility sector offers several business models today – last-mile mobility and rental bikes. Some of the players that Ontrack is competing with include Bounce, Vogo, Zoom Car, ONN Bikes, and Drivezy. Bengaluru-based Yulu operates in the last-mile sustainable transport model.
“Our USP lies in our business model and is interlinked with how we source, price, and retain our assets and users,” Harshit says.
The startup believes in perpetually innovating, growing, and building the next reliable wave of consumer behaviour towards transportation.
“Our goal for the next two years is to increase our fleet to up to 6,000 vehicles, branch out to multiple cities, and work on launching a new auto-lease model,” he adds.
Ontrack is also in talks to raise funds that are likely to come to fruition this year.
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)