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Exclusive: Citrus Pay founder backs on-demand driver app Drivify

24 Jun, 2016

On-demand driver app Drivify, operated by Mumbai-based startup DR Mobility Solutions Pvt. Ltd, has raised $50,000 (Rs 33.75 lakh) in seed funding from Citrus Pay founder Jitendra Gupta and a high net-worth individual Pankaj Tripathi.

Drivify joins half-a-dozen startups such as DriversKart and DriveU that have come up in recent months to provide drivers on demand to customers who don't mind paying a little extra to travel conveniently in traffic-choked cities where public transportation is also inadequate.

The startup will use the funds to improve and expand the platform, acquire customers and give incentives to drivers, co-founder Prasad Shriyan told TechCircle.

Drivify was founded in May 2015 by Shriyan and Jatin Kamdar. Prior to starting up Drivify, Shriyan worked with Thomas Cook India as vice president and head of sales for innovation projects. Kamdar earlier worked with aircraft research and maintenance company AirWorks.

Tripathi, the second investor, is a domain specialist in loyalty management, e-commerce and online travel segments.

The Drivify mobile app, which is supported by a proprietary booking engine, lets car owners search and book drivers instantly. The app scans for a driver within a 10 km radius of the user. Users get drivers' details on the app and can also track the selected driver on a map within the app. They can also pay through the app.

The platform has about 700 registered drivers, out of which 70 drivers are actively involved. The drivers work as independent contractors, and the company pays them a fix pay for logging-in on their platform and remain available for certain hours.

The startup says that, to ensure customer safety, it hires drivers only through referrals and after screening. It has also hired a third-party background verification company to check drivers' credentials.

The startup launched the beta version of its consumer app in March 2016. It claims to have facilitated about 7,500 drives so far including both retail and enterprise customers. Retail customers are charged Rs 299 for first 75 minutes and Rs 100 per hour thereafter.

Besides retail consumers, the startup also has an enterprise vertical. Shriyan said that, in September 2015, it got an opportunity to service a Volkswagon dealership in Mumbai which became its early enterprise client. The enterprise vertical has grown since then. Now, several dealerships of Honda Motor, Fiat, Ford and Maruti Autovista are its customers, he said.

Drivify charges enterprise customers for every trip. One trip includes drivers picking up vehicles, doing inspection, taking it to the workshop and getting the paperwork done. Dropping the vehicle, collecting the cash, and bringing and depositing the money to the centre is the second trip.

The company, which is currently operational in Mumbai, plans to expand to Delhi, Pune, Bangalore and Hyderabad by the end of this year.

Drivify competes with DriveU, DriversKart, Zimmber, Zuver and Driver Bulao, among others. Last month, Chennai-based on-demand chauffeur provider DriversKart acquired  Mumbai-headquartered rival Driven to expand its network, in the second acquisition in the nascent but growing segment. The deal came after DriversKart in April raised Rs 3 crore ($450,000) in a pre-Series A round of funding led by ah! Ventures.

Bangalore-based DriveU, a startup that connects chauffeurs with private car owners over a mobile marketplace, bought Gurgaon-based on-demand driver provider CallAtHome all-cash deal.

Jobbie Services India Pvt. Ltd, which provides drivers on demand through mobile app Zuver, raised Rs 1.2 crore ($180,000) in angel funding from Shruth & Smith Group of Bangalore and Pune's Hermes Group.

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