After Shuttl, public transport tech startup Chalo acquires Vogo

This acquisition will help Vogo augment Chalo’s bus technology services by powering first and last-mile rides at major bus stops and other public places.
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Mumbai-based mobility startup Chalo, on Monday, announced that it has acquired Vogo Automotive, a tech-enabled shared mobility startup. Vogo will augment Chalo’s bus technology services by powering first and last-mile rides at major bus stops and other public places. This will enable crores of bus users to easily travel to and from bus stops, and further boost bus ridership as it becomes more convenient to take a bus.

Prior to COVID-19, Vogo was present in Hyderabad and Bengaluru, fulfilling about 50,000 rides daily. Users could access petrol-powered two-wheelers through an app.

As a part of this acquisition, the company is switching to electric vehicles across its fleet. Vogo will also expand beyond two-wheelers and offer other types of electric vehicles to suit market needs.

Vinayak Bhavnani, Co-founder and CTO, Chalo, said,

“This acquisition offers Chalo key strategic gains. Now we will be able to offer a convenient and cost-effective option for bus passengers to travel to and from bus stops, solving the door-to-door daily commute. This will increase bus ridership and serve our core purpose of making travel more convenient and reliable for all.”

Vogo will continue to be known under the same brand name. Its founders Anand Ayyadurai and Padmanabhan Balakrishnan, and the rest of the Vogo team continue with Chalo and Vogo. Anand will step into a new leadership role for the Chalo group; Padmanabhan, previously Vogo’s Chief Operating Officer, will now serve as the Chief Executive Officer; Abhimanyu Goyal, who was serving as the Vice President, Engineering, and has been with the company for five years, will now be elevated to Chief Technology Officer; and Sharath Parameswaran, who was serving as the Vice President, Operations and Growth, will now be elevated to Chief Business Officer of Vogo.

Padmanabhan Balakrishnan, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Vogo, said,

“Given our shared DNA and values, we are pleased to join forces with the Chalo team. We have a common vision of solving the daily commute. Vogo democratised access to transport, and with Chalo we take this a step further in serving crores of people who rely on buses. We have already begun our transition to a 100 percent electric fleet and will also expand into new vehicle categories to serve people better.”

Chalo was launched in 2014 by Mohit Dubey, Vinayak Bhavnani, Priya Singh, Dhruv Chopra and Nikhil Aggarwal with the core purpose of making travel better for everyone. Its Android app provides live tracking of over 15,000 buses.

Currently, it is providing its services in 37 cities across 13 Indian states including Maharashtra, Delhi-NCR, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Assam, and others. 

In January 2022, Chalo claimed to have facilitated 100 million rides on its platform. It offers products like mobile tickets and mobile bus passes that can be bought on its app as well as through the Chalo card, a contactless tap-to-pay travel card. The company partners with bus operators to deploy this technology and improve the bus travel experience.

In October 2021, Chalo announced $40 million Series C funding, taking its total funding to $62 million, and the acquisition of Shuttl shortly thereafter.

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta

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