DriveU plans to accelerate its market presence and disrupt the way people “drive”
29 February, 2016. Bangalore, India: Unitus Seed Fund, India’s most active seed fund supporting startups innovating for the masses, announced its investment in DriveU, a firm that aggregates on-demand drivers for private car owners in India.
|DriveU raises $1 million from Unitus Seed Fund,
Silicon Valley angel investors
If Uber and Ola have changed the way people travel in urban India, there has been another creeping gap – that of utilization of privately owned vehicles in the country that has largely remained unaddressed. According to recent reports, there are more than 15 lakhs (1.5 million) private cars in Bengaluru, and 30% of the car owners are seeking drivers. And that’s just in Bangalore! DriveU, founded in 2015 by Ramprasad “Rahm” Shastry, Ashok Shastry and Amulmeet Singh, intends to revolutionize the self-driving habit in the country by addressing the Indian population that owns cars but is forced to choose alternative modes of conveyance to save themselves the hassle of driving and parking in the city.
DriveU CEO, Rahm Shastry says, “Imagine not needing a car, because you already have your own – but just a reliable, background-verified, on-demand driver, for your weekday commute, shopping and running errands, airport runs and business meetings, shuttling children or aged parents, outstation trips or simply for attending social events such as dining, concerts, weddings, parties, and bar pickups. That’s the gap being addressed by DriveU.”
With DriveU, a customer can hire a part-time driver-on-demand at an affordable cost. The team ensures seamless user experience by implementing the best practices in technology, driver verification, training methods and on-road commute experience. Customer safety is of utmost importance to DriveU and they follow stringent policies to get the drivers verified by police and RTO before registering them on the system.
How does it work?
A customer can book a driver using the DriveU app or on its website. The app can be downloaded from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. With the help of the app, one can book the nearest available DriveU driver and can also track while the driver is on his way to the customer’s pickup location. Once a booking is confirmed, all the necessary information such as driver’s name, picture, rating, phone number, location, distance from customer’s pick up point and estimated time of arrival is provided.
The hallmark of DriveU business is a simple, transparent, pay-as-you-go, fare of Rs 99/- per hour. There is no surge pricing ‘feature’ on the DriveU app; hence chances of getting fleeced with peak-hour pricing is another hassle avoided.
Screenshot of the Mobile App:
“I find the drivers on the DriveU platform to be extremely qualified and well trained. Drivers place a seat cover and floor mat to ensure cleanliness. The piece that appeals the most to me is driver etiquette and behaviour along with their driving skills. All drivers are verified and background checked which gives me the sense of safety and security.” said Monideepa Basu, a DriveU customer. Ms. Basu started using DriveU in July 2015 and has completed over 44 rides using the service.
DriveU commenced its operations in July 2015 and is currently offering services across 4 cities – Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai and most recently in Delhi. As of January 2016, DriveU has served over 15,000 trips to over 6,000 customers, of which over 60% are women.
“We are excited to be working with DriveU to support their growth. The firm’s stellar team, strong focus on technology and ability to innovatively solve the need for private car utilization while also improving driver livelihoods is a model that we believe will be both scalable and profitable.” said Unitus Seed Fund Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Will Poole.
Ramprasad “Rahm” Shastry, Dog-Lover & CEO: Rahm is a seasoned entrepreneur and investor from Silicon Valley. He was the first angel investor at TaxiForSure. After graduating from NITK, Surathkal he lived in the US for the past 35 years. He has successfully founded, and exited several technology-based companies over this time. Rahm returned to India in 2015 to found and run DriveU as its CEO.
Ashok Shastry, Dog-Lover & COO: Ashok graduated from California State University in Hayward, CA with a B.S in Business & Economics in 2013. Prior to DriveU, he worked at TaxiForSure in marketing and operational roles and this is the first startup that he has co-founded.
Amulmeet Singh, Dog-Lover & CPO: He was previously at FreeCharge, Redbus and ZipDial. This is the first startup he has co-founded.
Bangalore-based Humble Mobile Solutions Pvt. Ltd. launched DriveU in July 2015 with the vision to offer a technology-driven, on-demand, affordable, private driver service. DriveU brings together customers with their own vehicles who need a trusted driver. This strategic approach along with cutting-edge technology ensures that DriveU customers get an accessible, safe, transparent and economical ride.
About Unitus Seed Fund
Unitus Seed Fund is the leading venture seed fund supporting startups innovating for the masses in India. Unitus invests in healthcare, education, mobile & consumer, retail & e-commerce, financial services and agriculture sectors. Founded in 2012, Unitus Seed Fund is part of the Unitus Group, a premier financial services group operating in India and other emerging markets since 2000. Unitus Seed Fund is based in Bangalore and Seattle, and is a member of the Capria Network.