People now-a-days prefer self-driving over hiring a driver or a chauffeur. Startups like Cartisan, Zoom Car, and Let Me Drive are giving people an option to hire vehicles and drive.
ZipHop is another such startup that offers an online platform for booking cars and bikes for self-driving. The operations started 5 months ago (December 2015) in Goa and the team has till now expanded to Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Cochin, and Munnar. They have bikes ranging from Harley Davidsons to Honda Activas and cars ranging from hatchbacks to SUVs.
How did they make it?
Apoorv Agarwal, one of the founders came up with the idea. When Apoorv moved from Jalandhar to Mumbai, he found commuting to the last mile very difficult with public transport. In August 2016 it clicked to him to start a vehicle rental service that would help in last-mile commute as well as long-distance weekend travels. Apoorv discussed the idea with one of his friends — Ankit Chaturvedi — who was working as a Brand Manager with Asian Paints. They decided to begin this service and started looking out for a team. Apoorv has worked for Tata Steel, Mahindra and Mahindra, and Asian Paints before starting ZipHop. Apoorv’s friend Dushyant Singh, who has worked with Grofers, Triton Group, and TCS, joined the duo. Ankit’s childhood friend Sumit Hablani also joined in. He was then working at Reliance Industries. Sumit got his college friend Sudhanshu Saxena along with him. Sumit has worked for Tata Technologies, Safran MBD, and Tata HAL. He joined to take care of the technology aspects. That is how a five member-team was formed.
Where did they didn’t stop?
Major challenges were to organize a highly fragmented market and track vehicles by the four founders in real-time. Hotels have their own online booking systems. Hotel room aggregators can track availability of the rooms in real-time by linking their system with the hotels’ online booking systems. That kind of sophistication is not there in the bike/car rental market yet. All information is registered manually in registers. ZipHop built a partner app that helped them find availability of the vehicles and display that on the website directly, without any human intervention.
Where does the revenue come from?
ZipHop charges a commission on every transaction from their partner. They plan to increase the revenue streams by offering options to rent jackets, head-gear, and storage compartments.
How does the service work?
A user chooses the city where s/he is hiring the vehicle and the kind of vehicle (car or bike) s/he wishes to hire. Then, the user chooses the time and date between which s/he would want to book the vehicle. A list of vehicles is displayed on the screen. The user can also see the pick-up location and terms and conditions of the vendor. There are location and vehicle-type filters to help find the right vehicle. The user can choose to get the vehicle delivered by putting in the address of delivery. Multiple vehicles can be selected and put in cart for taking a decision later.
On completing the booking on payment, the user gets a confirmation SMS and email with the booking details. At the same time, all the details are shared with the concerned vendor through SMS and email. There is an option to make the payment through PayPal for international customers.
Where have they reached so far?
Ankit claims to have tie-ups with about 20 partners in 6 cities with more than 900 bikes and 100 cars listed on ZipHop. He says that they get 300 new visitors each day, and have had more than 250 bookings for a total of more than 800 booking days. He claims that ZipHop is growing 20% week-on-week and that their revenue now exceeds over INR400,000. ZipHop is currently bootstrapped and plans to add bicycles soon.
How does the market look?
There is a small segment of people who would not own a car but would like to hire one and use and there is another fairly large segment of people who travels to new cities for business or holidays and wants to hire self-drive the vehicle.
Companies like Zoomcar, JustRide, Revv, Voler Cars and Myles from Carzonrent, Cartisan and Let me Drive are already there in this market in India. The concept of hiring self-driving cars is very popular in countries like the US and China, where companies such as Hertz, Zipcar, and eHi are there.
- In June 2015, Truebil, a used car marketplace, raised $500K funding from Kae Capital and Anupam Mittal
- In April 2016, Droom, an automobile-focussed classifieds marketplace, secured $16 million
- In the same month, Zoomcar, a self-drive car rental company, raised $11 million from Sequoia Capital, Empire Angels, and NGP