The shared mobility sector was hit hard due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent nationwide lockdown as business came to a grinding halt. For rental electric bike sharing platform Yulu, provided an opportunity to segue into using its fleet for grocery and medicine delivery.
While those services are being phased out gradually in a city-specific manner, the experience has helped Yulu find adjacent lines of business.
“We have seen that food delivery is a particularly complementary service at a steady state. When we are back in action and demand for food delivery is back, we will create some packages for food delivery services which will give us a lift of 20-30% in demand,” Amit Gupta, CEO of Yulu said an interview to TechCircle.
Watch the video for details on how the pandemic impacted Yulu’s business and the roadmap ahead.
While Covid-19 wiped out business for a period of a little over two months, Gupta said that the demand is back, though at a unit economics level, recovery is yet to reach pre-Covid levels. The demand is mostly coming from people commuting for work, skipping bus or metro rides.
“Our average distance increased from 3.5 km to 4.5 km and the use case for leisure has also increased to 25-30%,” said Gupta.
Gupta, one of the co-founders of InMobi, founded Yulu with RK Misra, Naveen Dachuri and Hemant Gupta in 2017.
The firm, which raised $4 million from Rocketship.vc in June, has had to push the launch of a faster variant of its bike to 2021, even as it works with strategic investor Bajaj Auto on a new form-factor for its slow moving passenger vehicle, Miracle.
“We have partnered with another OEM outside of India for developing the faster variant and are co-creating the model which will be deployed for food delivery,” Gupta said, adding that adoption of electric vehicles for delivery needed a strong policy nudge as the price benefits for owning an EV were not clear for the gig workers.
Apart from business recovery, Yulu which has thus far raised nearly $17 million across multiple funding rounds is also looking to raise an additional $40 million. “We will start the discussions by Q4 of the year and not all of it needs to be in equity capital,” added Gupta.