And just when people were beginning to think, that bike taxis as a business isn’t really meant for India after all, there is a big — $50Mn+ big — funding news coming in. It is the bike taxi service Rapido, which has announced raising of a ₹390 crores (~$55 million) in Series B funding round. This round was led by Westbridge Capital. Previous investor Nexus Venture Partners and other investors like BAce Capital, Shunwei Capital, and Astrend India Investment also participated in this round.
This Bengaluru based startup, founded in 2015, is a bike taxi booking service where people can book bike rides if traveling solo. It operates through mobile applications on iOS and Android platforms. While many would prefer booking a cab instead, traffic congestion in Indian cities really make cabs nonviable for the most part. This isn’t the case for two-wheelers however. They save a lot of commute time, especially at peak hours when traffic jams are more.
Rapido also allows bike owners to earn extra cash by becoming a rider for their platform. Of course, the rider must have a valid driving license, driving experience and knowledge of city roads.
Aravind Sanka, cofounder of Rapido, in a statement said, “We are on a mission to make daily commute affordable and economical by using the 200 million motorcycles (check this) that are already on the ground. Our unique combination of delivery and ride-hailing helps us attain profitability and have seen success in a few cities.”
Rapido’s three founders, namely, Pavan Guntupalli, Aravind Sanka and Rishikesh S. R., following Series B round, hold 4.45% stakes each in the company. Westbridge Capital became the single largest stakeholder of the business with 22.15% with Nexus Venture Partners following with 12.5% stakes.
In 2016, the Indian government issued guidelines that allow state governments to license around bike taxis. Yet, due to the lack of proper regulations for bike taxis, each state has its laws regarding the operation of bike taxi services in that particular state.
For instance, Telangana, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh have approved ‘commercial bike taxi services whereas, states such as Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu have banned these services. On the other hand, states like Goa, already have state-approved bike taxi services.
Rapido has a presence in 40 cities including Bengaluru, Gurugram, Hyderabad, Mysore, Patna, Trichi, Bhopal, Madurai, and Indore. WIth Bengaluru and Hyderabad being the service’s largest markets. The platform claims to have over 100,000 riders associated with the service. The company has an annual revenue of $2M and competes with other services like Bounce-Swiggy, Dunzo, and Ola Bikes
According to a regulatory document filed in the Registrar of Companies, the company’s post-investment valuation now stands at ₹1,000 crores ($139.8 million), the Economic Times reported.