Though a nascent industry, at least a dozen odd startups have sprung up in last one year
New Delhi: While the Uber and Olas of the world are busy upping their game is the $8 billion taxi-rental market, there is another parallel industry self-drive car rentals which though nascent is growing at a fast peg. In the last one year, at least a dozen odd startups have sprung up in the space — MiCar, Selfdrive.in, Voler, RentoMojo, Revv, Justride and others.
“The self-drive rental business very well complements the usual taxi booking business and at least two to three companies in this space will create significant value as the market expands,” said Anupam Mittal, founder of Shaadi.com, an early investor in Ola Cabs and self-drive startup Justride.
“Self-drive is a nascent business but growth is going to be phenomenal, with a lot of demand coming from youngsters between 18 and 40 years of age who do not want to use their own cars,” said Rajiv Vij, chief executive officer of Carzonrent who plans to invest $20 million in the company’s self-drive vertical Myles.
“Sky is the limit for the self-drive market as there is lot of room to grow,” says Zoomcar Founder Greg Moran who currently works with 2000 cars across 7 cities and plans to expand capacity to10000 cars by mid of next year while venturing into tier II cities as well. Zoomcar claims to have doubled its margins in the last 12 months and achieved profitability in all seven cities. Startups are investing big in technology to protect their assets and improve customer experience. Revv which is funded by Myntra CEO Ananth Narayanan among others, for instance has built on- board diagnostic systems to give de- tails of driving behaviour of drivers and systems to help monitor the health of cars remotely—say if the car temperature increasing beyond safe limits the system raises an alarm. Also, cars are fitted with remote engine immobilisers using which engines of cars can be immobilise to stop further movement of the car. “This helps a lot against theft protection,” says Revv CEO Anupam Agarwal which launched in July 2015 with a fleet of 9 cars and now owns 300 cars across 3 cities. On similar lines, Justride employs Smart Vehicle Technology to taps into vehicle’s electronic system and provides a real time access to the location and performance.
Self-drive is a different business from the taxi-booking business on multiple counts. Being a powerful use-case within the car rental industry, startups in this space are cutting a slice out, catering to a different yet growing consumer need- reluctance towards investing in vehicles for personal use and the experience of driving fancy cars at way affordable prices.