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Business News/ Companies / Start-ups/  Pawan Munjal leads an undisclosed amount of funding in Rapido

Roppen Transportation Services Pvt. Ltd, which owns and operates bike taxi start-up Rapido, on Tuesday said it has raised an undisclosed amount in a pre-series A round led by Pawan Munjal, chairman, managing director and chief executive officer of Hero MotoCorp Ltd, and early stage investment firms AdvantEdge Partners and Astarc Ventures, among others.

Anupam Mittal, founder and chief executive officer of People Group; Ankit Nagori, former chief business officer, Flipkart; Rajan Anandan, managing director, Google India and South East Asia; and Kunal Khattar, co-founder of Carnation Auto also participated in the round.

The company will utilize the fund for team and geographical expansion. It currently has a fleet of 400 bikes across Bangalore, Gurugram and Delhi. “The number is set to touch 1,000 over the next two months," said Aravind Sanka, co-founder, Rapido.

The company was earlier known as theKarrier and used to offer intra-city truck services. In November 2015, it changed its business model 2015 to launch Rapido.

Given the regulatory limitations around bike taxis across different states in the country, Rapido charges a commission from riders in Gurugram. The base fare in Gurugram is 15 with an additional 5 per kilometer. However, in Bangalore and Delhi, it doesn’t charge any commission from riders.

A rider with a spare seat on his two-wheeler can meet other riders who are open to the idea of sharing a bike ride.

The company claims 50,000 app downloads and more than 1,25,000 rides so far. 85% of Rapido’s rides are from repeat customers and 10% of the customers are women, it said.

“In a rapidly-changing demographics and socio-economic environment, urban mobility in the country is undergoing an evolution with people looking for alternative modes of transport, convenience and comfort. Rapido is a commendable initiative and has the potential to generate significant employment, besides making convenient motorized transport accessible to the masses," said Munjal.

According to data provided by Tracxn, a start-up tracker, there are at least 20 bike taxi start-ups in India. Others who have raised funding include Noida-based Now and Gurugram-based Bikxie, Baxi and M-Taxi.

In India, bike taxis run the risk of regulatory hurdles as none of the states, barring Haryana and Goa, acknowledge them as commercial passenger transport service providers.

Globally, bike taxis have found significant traction in South-East Asia. Companies such as Singapore-based GrabTaxi and Indonesia’s Go-Jek are among the big names in the segment.

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Updated: 19 Apr 2016, 03:42 PM IST
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