Carzonrent acquires online car rental service QCABS

17 May, 2012

Carzonrent India Pvt Ltd, one of India's largest car rental companies, has acquired QCABS, an online car rental services startup, for an undisclosed amount.

Founded in 2011 by IIT-Delhi alumni Gaurav Dosi (who is the CEO) and Reshav Singla (CTO), QCABS is an online car rental service aggregator, which is used by travel agents from metros for multi-day travel schedules.

The acquisition is in line with Carzonrent's growth strategy and the company will work closely with the QCABS team (the founders of QCABS have joined Carzonrent) to create enhanced technology platforms and foray extensively into the retail space, it has said in a statement.

The acquisition seems to be part of a strategy of Carzonrent to move into the retail market, using the online space as a medium to acquire customers. Till now, Carzonrent, which also owns the Easy Cabs brand, has been servicing corporate clients and the upper end of the personal ground transportation market. Also, the company's online presence is nothing to write home about. This acquisition may have been done to plug that gap.

Carzonrent management was not immediately available for comment.

Rajiv K Vij, CEO of Carzonrent, said in a release, "QCABS acquisition is part of our endeavour to gain a larger segment of the market and provide a better service experience. We are planning to increase our retail spread beyond the airport operations of five cities and the QCABS founding team will be working with us on developing these models."

Before co-founding QCABS, Dosi had worked with organisations such as Airbus (France) and Boston Consulting Group (India), a leading management consulting firm. He holds a B.Tech degree in Electrical Engineering from IIT Delhi. Singla had worked with Headstrong, an IT consulting firm, where he deployed large-scale projects in the US and the UK. He holds a bachelor's degree in Engineering Physics from IIT Delhi.

Vij, a former senior executive of ITC-owned International Travel House, founded Carzonrent in 2001 and also picked up the master licence for global car major Hertz International for India. The company received the first round of private equity investment from SIDBI Ventures in 2005. A year later, it received funding from Westbridge Capital Partners and in 2011, raised another round from BTS Investment Advisors.

The company now offers end-to-end long and short-term car rental solutions through its fleet of 6,500 cars across the country. It provides a plethora of services like airport transfer (drop and pick-up), chauffeur drive, self-drive, limousine drive (unlike the name, limousines are not offered; instead, luxury cars like BMW 7 series, Mercedes E class, etc., are offered), operating lease, driving holidays (tour packages to and from prominent cities like Mumbai and Delhi) and corporate travel.

The cars rented by the company vary widely – ranging from low-cost economy cars like Alto VX and Maruti Zen to luxury cars like Mercedes E class and BMW 7 series. SUVs (like Ford Endeavor and Mitsubishi Pajero) and station wagons (like Mercedes MB 100 and Viano) are also available. As of now, the company has a presence in 13 cities and four airports, and it is planning to expand its operations to 40 more cities and airport locations. According to Vij, the company manages travel for at least 10,000 passengers on a daily basis.

Another major operator in the car rental service is Meru Cabs, a company majority-owned by India Value Funds.

Car rental space has been hotting up with several startups entering the segment with funding from angel investors and VCs. Ola Cabs recently received funding from Tiger Global while others like Taxiguide, Your Cabs and Savaari Car Rental also received funding.