Excl: Online platform to book car test drives FirstRide gets angel funding
FirstRide Auto Pvt Ltd, a Bangalore-headquartered startup that offers FirstRide.in, an online portal for potential customers to book test drive with various car brands, has received an undisclosed amount in funding from Teja Govind, director of Hyderabad-based Sreemitra Townships Pvt Ltd.
FirstRide will use the funds to organise test drive festivals in Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad, its CEO Vijay Kumar Reddy told Techcircle.in.
The startup was founded early this year by Reddy and Prasoon Agrawal (CTO). Prior to setting up FirstRide, Reddy had worked at various industries including insurance, online marketing, sales, recruitment and IT. His partner Agrawal had earlier worked at companies including RedBus.in and Themediaant in various capacities.
"While shopping for a new car, one of the most important steps is test drive. There are many things about a car that you can only experience by sliding behind the wheel. We are here to provide a test drive experience to customers before buying cars," said Reddy.
The startup has worked with 30-40 car dealers in Chennai and facilitated over 1,000 test drive bookings, said Reddy. "After experimenting with various models, we concluded that it's easier to sell cars online than organising the offline dealers due to issues related to infrastructure and manpower. Now, we are planning to work directly with manufacturers by providing test drive bookings and new car bookings," Reddy explained.
FirstRide is now planning to expand operations to more cities, including Hyderabad and Chennai, in addition to foreign markets like the UK and the US.
The firm currently offers the service for free, but it is planning to introduce a few revenue models in the near future. "Pay-per-successful test drive is one model we are planning. We can also look at a model wherein we will take a commission on sales, loan processing or accessories sales," he added.
While there are not many online test drive portals in India, there are some companies like Tred in the US which helps consumers to take test drive and also to buy new and used cars online.
FirstRide is also in talks with three-four VC investors in India to raise Rs 10 crore in Series A funding, added Reddy.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)