Aiming To Reach 200+ Cities During 2020: Rapido
Founded in 2015 by a bunch of engineers, the company is appreciated by huge investors in the region including Hero MotoCorp-led Pawan Munjal.
Aravind Sanka, Co-founder, Rapido
Rapido, an online bike taxi aggregator based out of Bangalore, is running operations in more than 100 cities. Founded in 2015 by a bunch of engineers, the company is appreciated by huge investors in the region including Hero MotoCorp-led Pawan Munjal. Speaking exclusively with BW Businessworld, Aravind Sanka, Co-founder, Rapido affirms that with bike taxis, it aims towards building an affordable commuting ecosystem in order to solve Indian mobility issues and is confident of reaching 200+ cities during this year. Below are the edited excerpts:
Tell us about your business model.
Rapido was launched in October 2015 in Bangalore and we kept growing in the number of cities and our riders with customers growing every year exponentially. Rapido app allows the user to book a ride, after which a rider (called "Captain") arrives at the location. The fare includes a base fare of ₹15 in addition to ₹3 for every kilometre of the ride. The "Captains" need to register through the Rapido-Captain app and get validated by submitting the required documents. They can use motorcycles, scooters, or e-bikes, but the vehicle cannot be older than 2010.
Please tell us the journey so far in terms of milestones achieved and revenues earned by your company?
Rapido was founded in 2015 as the Karrier by two IIT alumni and a PESU alumni – Aravind Sanka, Pavan Guntupalli, and SR Rishikesh. Initially, our focus was on building the two-way marketplace effectively. It took us a month to reach 500 rides per day and get the critical mass of 10,000 downloads. By March 2016, we became the first bike taxi service in India to complete 1 lakh+ rides.
In September 2018, we had over 15,000 registered riders, with average rides of 30,000 per day. By July 2019, we completed 3,00,000 orders every day. Among those who have stakes in Rapido are Hero MotoCorp chairman Pawan Munjal and former Google India head Rajan Anandan. We have created more than 500,000 jobs in India and in November 2019, we attained 1 crore registered users.
How has been the business last year? How does it look like this year?
For Rapido, 2019 has been an extremely successful year. Our customers have grown close to 4x and this is a testament to our overall growth and reach in the country. The Rapido app has already hit the 15 million-mark and is adding new users every day. We have witnessed a growth of 5x in rides in 2019 and are soon going to be the go-to taxi-service app for daily commuters in these cities. Also, in 2019 we acqui-hired Mumbai-based Vahanalytics, a data analytics startup that allows organizations to track their vehicle fleet operations.
Now our top cities run at profitable level and we are growing at more than 15% month-on-month from the last 3 years, year-on-year we have grown at 3X to 4X in last few years.
What is your current total fleet count and what will be the numbers in the future? Are all the vehicles co-owned? If no, will they be owned by you in the future?
Are you also looking at having EV in your fleet?
The future is EV but currently the industry needs a lot of support and building up of a robust and viable ecosystem. Inadequate charging infrastructure, consumer perception on EVs, the price points currently in the market and incentives for manufacturers are some challenges that would need be addressed to drive the EV revolution in India. It’s going to take some time but we are looking for the early adoption to keep up with EV narrative. We have started that process through a tie up to electrify about 10 percent of our fleet.
Which cities give you the maximum nos.?
Our core markets are Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Delhi NCR, while Chennai and Kolkata also gets us good numbers.
Are you also trying to bring in women drivers in the ecosystem? If yes, what is the target set for the same?
We have many lady captains (riders) in our ecosystem in Tier I, Tier II and Tier III cities. Some of them are flagbearers of our brand in the city. Today, anyone who owns a two-wheeler and has a valid driver’s license can be the lady captain for Rapido.
Does the company intend to get into three-wheeler/ four-wheeler ride platforms? if yes, what is the timeline?
We are super- focused on two- wheelers; being the pioneers in this segment, we have built it up from scratch. That has helped us a lot going deeper into Tier-II and III cities. Prices are something we always have an advantage over 4 wheelers or 3 wheelers, as the prices are comparatively less when compared to other riding facilities.
Finally, please share your medium- and long-term vision for the company?
In our journey, especially in the last two years, we have turned our focus from metropolitan cities to Tier II & Tier III cities. We have become bigger than cabs sharing companies, especially in Tier-II cities. With an idea to grow deeper, we gradually launched our services in around 100 cities in the country and this year we plan to reach 200+ cities.
Our long-term vision is to make intra-city transportation convenient, affordable and accessible in the country. Our disruptive service model has paved a whole new way to travel, with ease and speed. With Rapido, we aim towards building an affordable commuting ecosystem in order to solve Indian mobility issues.