Public transportation tech startup Chalo on a mission to improve daily transit

In a recent conversation with YourStory’s Daily Dispatch powered by HSBC, Mohit Dubey, Co-founder and CEO, of Chalo, shared how the recent acquisition of Vogo will help the startup extend first and last-mile services.
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In March this year, Mumbai-based public transportation tech startup Chalo acquired Vogo Automotive, a mobility startup, to complement its services by delivering first- and last-mile rides at key bus stations and public locations. It had previously acquired Shuttl, a bus aggregator, in October of 2021.

Before the acquisition by Chalo, Bengaluru-based Vogo was delivering 50,000 rides every day. Vogo will expand beyond two-wheelers and its whole operation will be transformed into electric vehicles. 

Chalo revealed in January of this year that it had enabled 100 million rides on its platform to date, and this acquisition will now make it easier for millions of bus riders to get to and from bus stations. Chalo's goal is to have 100 million rides every day and provide world-class services to India's public transit system.

Founded in 2014 by Mohit Dubey, Vinayak Bhavnani, and Priya Singh, Chalo addresses mobility issues in India. The Chalo app allows users to track any bus live, as well as purchase tickets and travel by scanning their QR code. Users can opt for contactless payment with Chalo cards, avoiding the difficulties of carrying change.

It currently operates in more than 30 cities such as Jaipur, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Agra and Bhopal. These are the cities where the masses rely on bus services and not on metros, taxis or trains.

Mohit says that the startup plans to double the number of buses in this fiscal year. In October 2021, it raised $40 million in a Series C funding round led by Lightrock India and Filter Capital. The capital, the startup says, is being used to penetrate deeper into the existing markets, improve the technology and expand internationally.

When asked about the acquisition, Mohit says that both brands will be built independently. "You don’t want to integrate two sub-scale businesses," he explains. However, in terms of the services that the startup offers, there will be some integration in later stages. Someone with a Vogo app, for example, can also book a Chalo ride and vice versa.

From September 2021 to March 2022, the company has grown at an exponential rate. Chalo's business model, according to Mohit, allows it to operate even with limited capital.  

The company will seek further capital as needed to meet its goals of increasing the number of buses, expanding internationally, and penetrating more into the existing markets. 

Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti

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