India: A new era of 2-wheeler taxis is set to begin & it makes complete sense

Go to any bus stop in India’s major cities and you are more likely to see hoards of people waiting for buses that are often delayed and overcrowded.

The popularity of cab-hailing services like Ola and Uber has risen manifold, but they remain unaffordable for the majority of Indians who depend on cheaper means of transport such as metro trains — in the couple of cities where they run — and buses.

Now two startups are addressing the problem by launching apps that hail motorcycles. For the millions of people waiting at bus stands to go to work, this can indeed be an affordable solution. And investors agree.

“There is a huge market opportunity, just in last-mile transportation. The value proposition, compared to existing alternatives, is amazing. Their strategy includes full access in every city they launch, with a five-minute access,” said Manish Kheterpal, managing partner of private equity firm WaterBridge Ventures, who has invested in Baxi, a Gurgaon-based startup that plans to launch Tuesday. Other investors include Alok Mittal, founder of technology startup Indifi Technologies, and Puneet Dalmia, managing director of cement manufacturer Dalmia Bharat Group. Together, they have put in Rs 10 crore ($1.5 million), making it one of the largest seed rounds in India.

Baxi’s founders, Ashutosh Johri and Manu Rana, both graduates of IIT Delhi, spent close to a year setting up operations are getting the required permits from the government of Haryana — including the license to ply two-wheelers as taxis, something that has never been done before. The company will have 23 bikes to start with, and operate in Gurgaon, which has abysmal public transport infrastructure despite hosting the offices of some of the world’s most respected multinationals and having close to 30 malls, and seven golf courses. Unlike neighboring Delhi, which has several flyways and wider streets, Gurgaon’s narrow, potholed roads are choked with traffic, making it difficult to commute in cars.

That represents a big opportunity, which is why another two-wheeler hailing app M-Taxi, is also based there and said it had raised funding from angel investors Mandeep Singh and Jairaj Singh. M-Taxi’s motorcycles are designed to enable last mile connectivity from bus stops to people’s homes. M-Taxi was founded in February by Arunabh Madhur, who had earlier founded a media content company. He has a head-start over Baxi, having already started operations, although the latter might have more resources. The model is similar to that of GrabBike, which was started by southeast Asia’s cab-hailing service GrabTaxi.

India’s radio taxi market is estimated to be worth between $6 billion to $9 billion, and is growing at 17-20 per cent every year. Services such as Baxi and M-Taxi will help expand that market deeper into India’s poorly serviced towns and cities, where infrastructure has struggled to keep pace with the galloping rate of vehicular traffic growth.

Also read:

India: Bike hailing app newbies Baxi, M-Taxi & car rental startup JustRide get angel funds

Indonesia Dealbook: Ride-sharing apps LadyJek and BajajApp launched

GrabTaxi raises largest round yet, $350m from Coatue, CIC & Didi Kuaidi

Indonesia to draft new laws to address rapid rise of transport apps

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.