Gurugram-based Super Highway Labs Pvt. Ltd, which operates bus aggregation platform Shuttl, has raised $11 million (Rs 75.5 crore in current exchange rates) in a Series B funding round.
Amazon Alexa Fund co-led the round along with Japan-based Dentsu Ventures, the company said in a media statement.
Shuttl will primarily use the investment for geographical expansion, the statement added.
“Millions of people use shared transportation options for their everyday commute. Voice represents a new convenient way for them to manage these types of daily routines, and we look forward to supporting Shuttl as they work to deliver this experience to Amazon Alexa customers across India," Paul Bernard, director of Amazon Alexa Fund, stated.
In June, TechCircle first reported that Shuttl was going to raise $11 million (around Rs 76 crore) from new investors Amazon and Dentsu Ventures and existing investors.
At that time, Shuttl had already received $5.6 million (Rs 38.30 crore) in a tranche led by Dentsu Ventures, along with existing investors Sequoia Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Times Internet Limited (TIL). Ambiga Subramanian, co-founder of data analytics MuSigma, had also invested in her personal capacity.
As per TechCircle estimates, the three-year-old venture is likely to have raised this round at a post-money valuation of roughly $80-85 million (Rs 550-590 crore).
Shuttl’s last known external funding took place in 2015 when it had raised $20 million in a Series A round from Lightspeed Venture Partners, Sequoia India and TIL.
Amazon Alexa Fund
The Alexa Fund, founded in 2015, is a $100-million vehicle to fuel voice technology innovation. In November 2017, the company topped up the fund with additional capital to the extent of $100 million.
According to an article from online tech media publication Fast Company, the fund is part of the company’s effort to identify more Alexa-showcasing firms and products around the world. The fund has three parts to it—a VC-style investment arm, an accelerator, and a university fellowship programme.
The bus aggregator was founded in April 2015 by Amit Singh, an alumnus of Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi, and Deepanshu Malviya, an IIT-Kanpur graduate.
According to the media statement, Shuttl’s smart buses serve 45,000 rides daily in Delhi-NCR and is present in seven cities across India, including pilots in Kolkata and Pune. Currently, the company operates 800 buses on 150 routes. It also separately caters to corporates and provides vehicles for rentals, according to information available on its platform.
In September 2016, Shuttl had launched a feature called ‘chirp’, which automatically identified a commuter while boarding a bus, a company blog had stated.
According to the company’s filings with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, it posted operational revenue of Rs 14.34 crore in the financial year 2016-17, a seven-fold increase from Rs 2.23 crore in the previous year. Its net losses widened to Rs 59.07 crore, up from Rs 52.54 crore in 2015-16.
Shuttl is among the best-funded players in the space. Other bus aggregation startups include ZipGo and Cityflo. The trio position themselves as cheaper and greener alternatives in the metros, providing long-distance trunk routes connecting housing suburbs with business hubs.
In April last year, VCCircle reported that Bengaluru-based ZipGo Technologies Pvt. Ltd had raised Rs 33.4 crore ($5.2 million) in a Series A funding round co-led by ON Mauritius, part of Omidyar Network, and Chennai-based early-stage investment firm VenturEast Advisors.
In November 2015, Cityflo had received $750,000 (Rs 4.9 crore) in seed funding from IDG Ventures and an unnamed investor.