Kickstart Cabs looks to raise additional funding

The cab service for people with locomotor disabilities is looking for additional funding to go with the unspecified amount they already got from Mphasis

Rahul Chandran
Published3 Dec 2016, 12:37 AM IST
Kickstart Cabs started with three cars in 2014 and the fleet has grown to nine cars, including a sedan with a turn-out seat—one seat that can be turned around from facing the front to facing the car door—to bigger vehicles like vans equipped with a ramp.
Kickstart Cabs started with three cars in 2014 and the fleet has grown to nine cars, including a sedan with a turn-out seat—one seat that can be turned around from facing the front to facing the car door—to bigger vehicles like vans equipped with a ramp.

Bengaluru: When Vidhya Ramasubban and Srikrish Siva decided to set up a cab service for people with locomotor disabilities, one of the things they had to grapple with was a variant of the old ‘what came first, the chicken or the egg’ question.

Were there enough differently abled people looking to get about in the city to warrant a cab service for them? Or did people with disabilities not venture out because of the lack of travelling options?

The idea for Kickstart Cabs was born out of a casual conversation between childhood friends Ramasubban and Siva in early 2013.

The company was incorporated in April, had its first vehicle trial in June and was officially launched in December that same year.

“It was triggered during a casual chat about the lack of facilities available in India for the disabled and how it compared with the facilities in other countries,” Siva said.

There were not too many facilities for differently abled people travelling, with the result that they stayed at home much of the time.

There are 268 million differently abled people in India, up 22% from the previous decade, according to census data.

Siva said that they found there were people who have stayed at home for a decade because of, among other things, a lack “of viable options.” They would sometimes not travel outside for fear of being a bother to their family.

So they decided to set up Kickstart Cabs. Ramasubban already had experience working with the differently abled at, among other places, Delhi’s Spastics Society. Siva worked at a technology firm in San Francisco.

They started with three cars in 2014 and the fleet has now grown to nine cars, including a sedan, with what they call a turn-out seat—basically one seat that can be turned around from facing the front to facing the car door—to bigger vehicles like vans equipped with a ramp.

The company is now looking for additional funding to go with the unspecified amount they already got from Mphasis Ltd. Siva said he couldn’t immediately divulge details of Mphasis’ investment or revenues.

“People didn’t think they wanted to talk about them, people didn’t want to provide services to them, and people didn’t want to provide employment to them. So the initial thoughts were can we really make a business out of this? Can it go from it being a charity; as disability generally is, to actually being a business model?” asked Shilpi Kapoor, managing director of Barrier Break.

Barrier Break is a company that offers what it calls accessibility services such as websites and apps designed to be accessible to the differently abled.

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First Published:3 Dec 2016, 12:37 AM IST
HomeCompaniesNewsKickstart Cabs looks to raise additional funding

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