2 min read.Updated: 29 Jun 2015, 09:56 AM ISTMihir Dalal
Humble Mobile Solutions Pvt. Ltd, which owns DriveU, launched its mobile app in Bengaluru this month
Bengaluru: Cab hailing services Uber and Ola are founded on the premise that the convenience and low cost of their services will discourage usage of personal cars and eventually make car ownership obsolete. Now, three entrepreneurs, Rahm Shastry, Ashok Shastry and Amulmeet Singh Chadha, have launched a mobile app-based start-up called DriveU, which provides drivers on demand for car owners.
While DriveU’s business model is entirely different from that of Ola and Uber, which get cabs for users using technology, the company is a potential rival of the cab-hailing services because it helps car owners to keep using their vehicles rather than hire cabs.
Humble Mobile Solutions Pvt. Ltd, which owns DriveU, launched its mobile app in Bengaluru this month with 50 drivers and plans to have 1,000 drivers in the city by December. The company charges ₹ 99 per hour in the day and ₹ 199 in the night, as well as a surcharge.
For users, the app will have a detailed driver rating and feedback system. It will support three languages—English, Hindi, and Kannada.
The market for DriveU is potentially large. While car sales in India have been weak over the past three years, the country is still one of the largest passenger car markets in the world. Car sales grew 4.99% to 1.87 million units—the first increase in three years—in the year ended 31 March, according to the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers, an industry lobby group.
“Ten years ago, there was say one car per family; now there are three cars," chief executive officer Rahm Shastry said. “But the roads haven’t changed and infrastructure hasn’t kept pace with the increase in car sales. So though buying a car is one of the most expensive things you will do, you don’t enjoy driving it. We’re trying to solve the problem by providing on-demand drivers. We will leverage our technology prowess, operational excellence, and focus on customer satisfaction."
Currently, DriveU is being funded by the chief executive. The company said it will raise funds when demand picks up over the next few months.
Shastry was one of the early investors in cab-hailing service TaxiForSure, which was bought by Ola for $200 million earlier this year. His son Ashok Shastry worked in a mid-level marketing position at TaxiForSure while DriveU’s third founder, Chadha, held senior product management roles at FreeCharge and RedBus.
DriveU will work with both operators and independent professionals to sign up drivers. The company said it was conducting extensive background checks and conducting tests for potential recruits before adding drivers.
It said drivers will undergo behavioural training and wear standardized uniforms before they start working. DriveU will provide drivers with two-wheelers to reach a customer and get back after the ride.
“We will have supply all over the city. For us the ideal situation will be when our drivers will be one or two kilometres away from customers. We will enhance customer experience using their personal vehicle by implementing the best practices in technology, driver verification and training methods and on-road commute experience—be it for shopping, running errands, evening entertainment, dropping and picking up children from school, attending functions such as weddings, commuting, or outstation drives," Rahm Shastry said.
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