LiveMinds Solutions Pvt Ltd, the company that owns and operates online (and mobile) cab booking service BookMyCab, is in advanced talks to raise over $6 million (about Rs 37 crore), according to its founder Avinash Gupta. The company had earlier secured an undisclosed amount in funding from YourNest Angel Fund and Mumbai Angels in mid-2012.
"We are in advanced talks with social sector-focused funds and established investors to raise funds," said Gupta, adding that existing investors YourNest and Mumbai Angels will also co-invest in the round.
With the new round, the company, which presently has operations only in Mumbai, is aiming to expand to other major metros, including Delhi and Bangalore. (For more detail click here.)
BookMyCab differs from other similar service providers since commuters can book non-AC yellow-and-black cabs at regular meter fare, as well as AC cool cabs. This makes it cheaper compared with regular radio cabs.
The company claims to have landed a licence from the Maharashtra government to provide booking of these cabs over phone and via its portal. Currently, the company operates about 3,500 taxis in Mumbai. In total, there are about 1 lakh cabs in the city.
All the taxis that come under this service are equipped with vehicle tracking technology so that they can be tracked at any given time with the help of GPS. Besides this, the taxis are also fitted with onboard GPS/GPRS, electronic meter, printer, fire extinguisher, first aid box, etc.
The company has its own technology centre for running its entire technology backend, including dispatch technology comprising tracking solution, automated dispatch technology and IT infrastructure. Recently, BookMyCab has added a safety feature on its Android app that allows the families of passengers to track their journey as the taxi traverses through the city.
Talking about the business model, Gupta said, "We have five-year exclusive contracts with the taxi owners and we work on revenue share model. Also, we charge by the meter and that's why our cabs can always go the minimum distance. That's our USP."
Increasing investors' interest in the space
Online taxi booking is one of the fastest growing segments in India, and a number of domestic as well as global VC investors and PE firms have already poured millions of dollars into this space. Leading domestic players include Olacabs, Savaari, taxiGUIDE and Cabs24X7. Large players such as Meru among others have also been trying to capitalise on technology to scale up business.
Recently, TaxiForSure raised $10M in Series B led by Bessemer, while Olacabs secured $20 million its Series B funding from Matrix Partners and Tiger Global. Inventus-backed Savaari had also raised an undisclosed amount from Intel Capital.
Last October, Google Venture-backed mobile-based on-demand car hire service Uber came to India, and it has already expanded to all major cities, including Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai. ZoomCar, a membership-based self-drive car rental service launched by two US citizens had also entered India last year. The company raised $1.6 million in funding from a group of domestic as well as foreign investors.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)