New Delhi: Bus aggregator Shuttl, owned by Super Highway Labs Pvt. Ltd, has raised $11 million led by Amazon India, Amazon Alexa Fund and Dentsu Ventures, the startup said on Monday. Existing investors Sequoia Capital, Times Internet and Lightspeed Ventures have also participated. Gurgaon-based Shuttl plans to use the funds to expand into two new cities by the end of 2018-19 and grow in existing cities including Delhi NCR and Jaipur. The company, which currently does 45,000 daily rides in five cities, is running pilots in Pune and Kolkata. It has about 60,000 active monthly users.
“We see the top seven cities including Pune, Jaipur as our potential markets," said Amit Singh, chief executive and co-founder at Shuttl.
“We will continue to improve the consumer experience, design more routes, and restore the dignity of commuting for millions of people," he added.
Founded in January 2015, Shuttl currently has 800 buses on its platform and is trying to solve the problem of an unreliable public transport system in the country.
“By taking on the everyday urban commute, Shuttl is solving for a large and relevant customer pain point. Amazon is impressed by Shuttl’s journey so far and excited to back missionary founders and management teams," said Amit Agarwal, country head at Amazon India.
“Millions of people use shared transportation options for their everyday commute. Voice represents a new, convenient way for them to manage these types of daily routines, and we look forward to supporting Shuttl as they work to deliver this experience to Amazon Alexa customers across India," said Paul Bernard, director, Amazon Alexa Fund.
Amazon Alexa Fund was founded in 2015 and provides up to $100 million in venture capital funding to fuel voice technology innovation, according to Amazon’s global website.
In 2016, Shuttl launched Chirp, a sound-based authentication system that transfers the boarding details locally between the driver and the rider apps.
While Singh does not deny future synergies between Amazon and Shuttl, he said that the business is currently very small for Amazon to think of strategic partnership. “You can definitely expect us to use prime videos in our buses or have some offers or tie-ups with Amazon’s prime consumers in future," said Singh.
Shuttl was founded by Singh and Deepanshu Malviya, former colleagues at fashion e-tailer Jabong, with an aim to reduce congestion in cities by offering bus services that consumers can easily book through a mobile app. It started off an inter-city bus service, but three months later pivoted into intracity transport.