GURGAON: With India’s cities daily assailed by chaotic traffic and toxic air, peer-to-peer car sharing might be the way ahead out of this doom-laden scenario.
A necessity is how Nikhil Agrawal, co-founder and chief executive, LiftO, describes ride-sharing. “It is the only way to reduce traffic and pollution,” he says. LiftO, which was introduced in Mumbai in September, is a platform that connects passenger to passenger, unlike cab services like Uber and Ola, which link passengers to drivers.
“You don’t have to share your car with multiple people, you can share it with one person. Just tell us where you are going, we’ll find the person for you,” Agrawal describes.
Mayuresh Sawant feels he should not drive to work, particularly because he has a sports utility vehicle (SUV), which is the category of cars considered the most fuel guzzling. But he says he has no other option. “My first choice is public transport but because buses are crowded and not on time, I am forced to take my car.” He adds that taking an air-conditioned bus to work would cost him Rs 100 one way, which is what he spends on diesel one way.
The 33-yearold engineer with a multinational telecom company drives his Tata Safari 40 km every day from his home at Mulund, an eastern suburb, to his office in a western suburb, and back.
Around two months ago, Sawant noticed a hoarding for a service called LiftO, a ridesharing app that allows people to give or take rides in personal cars or blackand-yellow cabs or autorickshaws or the likes of Uber and Ola.
Not only Ola and Uber have done it but several other platforms have entered the world of ride sharing with an objective –to ease the traffic congestion in the cities across the country. Joining this bandwagon is LiftO. But this startup is slightly different from the others. With LiftO, users can share a ride not only with cars but also taxis and autorickshaws.
So it allows you to share your ride on any vehicle platform. Users can post their ride through LiftO, irrespective of whether they are using a car or taxi (like Ola, Uber, Meru and TABcab), or autorickshaws. They can share the ride with a fellow user who is also looking to use the same route.
Mumbai-based Teilen Infoservices Pvt Ltd, which runs and operates people-to-people (P2P) ride-sharing app LiftO, has raised $130,000 (Rs 85 lakh) in angel funding from Tree House Education’s Rajesh Bhatia, Temasek’s fund manager Dheeraj Mehta and other investors.
Amith Aggarwal (co-founder, Star Agri Warehousing and Collateral Management) and OM Logistics’ promoters (the Gupta family) also put money in this round, LiftO said in a statement.
The funds raised will be utilised for customer acquisition.
The company also plans to close $5 million in Series A round of funding by March 2016.
As a banker working in south Mumbai — Nariman Point and then Lower Parel — Nikhil Agarwal suffered the pains of the city’s chaotic public transport system for nine years. Trains operating well beyond their capacity, a limited taxi service and a crumbling bus network trying to support an ever-growing metropolis were sure signs that something had to be done to try to ease the commute of citizens not just in the commercial capital but across the country.
State-sponsored mass transit system .
Lifto joins a raft other startups trying to solve India’s worsening issues with urban transport and daily commutes. Existing public infrastructure — including newer options such as the Delhi Metro which ferries three million passengers — are woefully inadequate for India’s working population.