Updated: Jan 6, 2019
Personal shared mobility is the new form of transportation, which is revolutionizing the way we travel in cities. These services, already popular in the USA and European cities, are offering pollution-free, affordable, convenient and exciting options of bicycles and e-bikes/scooters for first and last mile connectivity. Although in India the services are still at a nascent stage, they have received a positive response from the users and investors alike.
One of the more popular names in the category is Mobycy which offers bicycles in three cities and is now launching its e-bikes for shared mobility. Mobycy recently closed its next funding round and we caught up with Akash Gupta, Co-founder & CEO, to hear about the new types of mobility that we can expect to see on the roads soon.
Aurora Ventures: Congratulations Akash for closing the funding round. Tell us how the idea of Mobycy came us and a little about your founding team.
Akash: Thank you. While addressing college students, I realized students spent an hour or two every day just walking between different buildings on campus. I thought universities could deploy shared bicycles available at hourly rental rates and that could be booked on an app. From there, I extended the idea to cities where the problem is similar for people walking to their offices. And that’s how the idea of Mobycy emerged. This last mile problem in India is $3.2bn market with 80 million+ users suffering from this in top cities only.
I have worked in Marketing, Strategy, BD, Ops & Growth hacking in E-commerce, Payments, Telecom and IT with companies like Snapdeal, Airtel and Dell for more than 11 years. In my last role before Mobycy, I was working with Mobikwik as VP, Head of Marketing. I was joined by Rashi Agarwal (co-founder & COO) who brings more than 10 years of experience in Ops, HR, Finance and Administration. She was running her own profitable fashion startup LetsFlaunt for last 3 years before starting Mobycy.
Aurora Ventures: Based on your latest funding round, how do you think investors in India are looking at this space? Personal shared mobility is a rage today in USA and Europe with multi billion dollar valuations for startups. Do you think we can expect the same excitement in India?
Akash: Personal shared mobility is the need of the hour. People in India are getting conscious about their carbon footprint and have started shifting towards environment friendly alternatives. It makes no sense for a single person to use a car to travel a short distance and people are looking for alternatives which are of the right size.
From the tremendous response we have received, I can confidently say personal shared mobility will be the hottest thing in the coming years and investors in India feel the same which makes us believe that we will easily see multi-billion investments in it in India alone. We have also received positive feedback from investors for our series A round.
Aurora: What are the current cities that Mobycy is operational in and the fleet size? What are your plans for growing in other cities?
Akash: Currently Mobycy bicycles are live in 3 cities (Gurgaon, Noida, Kota) and many prestigious universities, tech parks and residential cities. We’re doing 200k+ monthly rides on 2000 bikes.
We have multiple exclusive contracts from city municipalities and smart cities for providing our services there and catering the needs of people with shared e-Scooters and bicycles. We also have contracts from universities and tech parks and will be launching 15k+ e-vehicles on the ground very soon.
Aurora: Tell us more about the electric scooter sharing service being launched by Mobycy? Do you think it would be preferred by Indian consumers against personal scooters/motorcycle?
Akash: Yes we are adding e-scooters to our fleet. We believe with increasing congestion and pollution, people will be shifting towards shared transport. We have already seen the crazy growth of Uber & Ola in the Indian market. While they have solved the problem of transport for >5kms but not still not many alternatives are present for first mile and last mile connectivity.
Imagine you get down from your flat/residential society and there’s a fleet of EVs which you can book from your phone and go to your office/metro/market and park anywhere. Or if you get down from metro station and there’s a fleet of EVs that you can take to your offices/residential society and park anywhere for others to use after you. This is a very small example of the future we are building. And I personally feel, shared transport is the way ahead and people will shift very quickly to it once they understand it and get used to it.
Aurora: As part of the electric vehicle industry, we all hope that adoption rates will go high and it will become mainstream. What do you think are the challenges and when do you see India taking a leap in the consumption of electric vehicles in any form?
Akash:I think adoption rate of EVs will go high once the infrastructure comes up which meets the needs. Electric vehicles will be adopted at much higher rate than fueled vehicles were and it’s only a matter of time when this industry will be taking long and high leaps. Lot of players working on this as we speak from government, startups and private corporations.
Aurora: Lastly, the government has not been clear with its policy formation around the industry and there have been multiple delays. What areas do you think that the governments at city level or central level need to look into, regarding promotion of shared mobility which would help them fight traffic and pollution woes?
Akash: The government recently launched FAME I & FAME II would be launched soon, which propose fiscal and non-fiscal incentives to electric vehicle firms for 5 years. Although there have been a bit delay but the government is catching up and going head strong into EVs. To quote PM Narendra Modi- “Shared Electric Connected 2 wheelers is the way ahead”. We’ve received strong support from the government and signed many exclusive contracts for launching in multiple cities.
We would like to thank Akash Gupta for sharing his views with us.
Aurora Ventures offers supply chain support and consulting from China for Electric Vehicle and shared mobility companies. Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org to know more.