Decoding India’s Top Startup Chalo – The Promising Company For Bus Transportation

Chalo is a technology-driven transportation solution startup to improve public transportation trips. Chalo got founded by Mohit Dubey, Priya Singh Dubey, Dhruv Chopra, Vinayak Bhavnani, and Nikhil Aggarwal in 2014. Chalo’s headquarters is in Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.

By Digital Yug Nov 15 2021 1:06PM 351 Read
Travel Tech Chalo Startup Raises $47M Funding in Latest Round

While features such as ease of access to buses and low fares are among the reasons why most people prefer to travel by bus, the bus transportation market in India still has a lot of room for growth. There are numerous inconveniences involved with bus travel, ranging from waiting for buses to standing in lines to purchase bus tickets. ‘Chalo,’ a Mumbai-based firm, was created in 2014 to solve these problems. Chalo employs technology to make travelling in city buses a pleasant experience for passengers in over 23 Indian cities. Let’s get to read the success story of this remarkable firm.

Chalo Startup – Key Highlights

  • Startup Name – Chalo
  • Founded - 2014
  • Founders - Mohit Dubey, Priya Singh Dubey, Dhruv Chopra, Vinayak Bhavnani, Nikhil Aggarwal
  • Sector - Public Transportation
  • Headquarter - Navi Mumbai
  • Founders - Mohit Dubey, Priya Singh Dubey, Dhruv Chopra, Vinayak Bhavnani, Nikhil Aggarwal
  • Parent Organization - Zophop Technologies Private Limited
  • Website - www.chalo.com

Chalo App – Transportation Solutions

Chalo is a technology-driven transportation solution startup to improve public transportation trips. The startup’s primary goal is to improve city bus services by making them more dependable, easier to use, and less time demanding to increase usage on these buses.

Chalo – 5 Founders, One Startup

Chalo was founded by Mohit Dubey, Priya Singh Dubey, Dhruv Chopra, Vinayak Bhavnani, and Nikhil Aggarwal.

  • Mohit Dubey : The CEO of Chalo is Mohit Dubey. He is also the co-founder of CarWale and CarTrade. Mohit an alumnus of Devi Ahilya Vishwidyalya and Goa University.
  • Dhruv Chopra : He is Chalo’s, Chief Marketing Officer. Chopra is in charge of the company’s overall marketing and has a sharp eye for detail in everything digital. Before starting Chalo, Dhruv was the CFO and VP, Enterprise Solutions at CarWale and BikeWale.
  • Priya Singh Dubey : She is Chalo’s Chief People Officer (CPO). Priya assists the organization in attracting exceptional personnel and in solidifying the company’s position to facilitate future growth. She also looks after the company’s training and development, which includes crew members aboard Chalo Buses.
  • Vinayak Bhavnani : He is in charge of Product and Technology. He’s been with Chalo since its inception in 2014. Vinayak helps build all Chalo products and controls the department’s work, making it more effective for customers, bus operators, regulatory partners, and the complete technology platform, live tracking, ticketing, payments, cards, etc.
  • Nikhil Aggarwal : He has been the co-founder and COO of Chalo. Nikhil received his education at Delhi University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree. Nikhil has previously worked as a consultant for the World Bank.

Chalo Startup – Brand Name & Logo

  • Brand Name - The name ‘Chalo’ stems from the startup’s fundamental business goal of “making travel simple for everyone.” Chalo is a fantastic fit because it is one of the most commonly used phrases to begin any travel.
  • Logo – The Company’s logo is in simple black colour written text “Chalo”.

Chalo App – Funding & Investors

Chalo has raised a total of $47 million in investment thus far. Chalo plans to use the new money to improve its technology, solidify its position in India, and extend its business activities overseas.

  • $40 million - Series C round, By Light rock India and Filter Capital, Raine Venture Partners, WalterBridge Ventures, and other existing investors, 2021.
  • $7 million - Series B Round, By Raine Venture Partners, 2021.

Chalo App – Features & Services Offered

Some of the services offered by Chalo are as follows:

  • Track Buses : The App allows customers to track any bus in real-time and view its estimated arrival time. It means you won’t have to wait at a bus stop; instead, aim to be at the bus stop 1-2 minutes before your bus arrives.
  • Chalo Card : A NFC touch-to-pay card that can hold a wallet as well as multiple-trip tickets (e.g. monthly pass). It eliminates the need to carry change, and in the age of COVID-19, contactless payments boost security by a factor of 20.
  • Mobile Passes / Tickets : Using the app, users can purchase bus passes/tickets and then travel by simply scanning their QR code. It means no more trips to the pass centre for the thousands of students and other passengers who commute by bus. In addition, there is no interaction or exchange of money with the conductor, which adds to the safety.

Fun Fact : Chalo’s most current update features a live passenger indicator that tells users how full the bus got compared to the city’s recommended capacity. It is instrumental because, as a result of COVID-19, bus capacity got drastically reduced.

Chalo - Revenue Model

Chalo provides bus operators with real-time tracking, payment systems, and operating services without requiring any upfront investment. However, Chalo is responsible for the entire CAPEX and initial investments in hardware, such as GPS devices, electronic ticketing machines, and making cards available.

Chalo collaborates with bus companies to improve ridership and then charges the companies a percentage of the additional ridership, making it a win-win situation for everyone.

Acquisition - On October 26, 2021, Chalo purchased Shuttl for an unknown sum, marking the company’s first acquisition.

Chalo App – Top Challenges

Some of the challenges of the company are as follows:

  • Real-Time Information : After a few months of successfully implementing Chalo’s live monitoring services in Indore, which considerably decreased wait times at bus stops, the team realized that real-time information on when the next bus will arrive is just part of the problem. Aspects such as increasing network dependability and ensuring that buses were maintained cleaner were all equally vital.
  • Bus Management : They discovered a few intrinsic flaws with the way bus systems got managed after additional investigation. As a result, service standards vary around the city, leaving customers dissatisfied. Small private operators also tend to compete with one another rather than cooperate to improve the entire network, resulting in unstable bus services for passengers.
  • Alternatives : If buses do not operate on time, passengers are more likely to switch to other modes of transportation, such as a shared auto or even buying their two-wheeler. It is also an issue for startups like Chalo.

Fun Fact - NASSCOM named the Chalo app one of India’s Top 50 Startups in 2017.

Chalo App – Growth & Financial Facts

  • From Bhopal, the first 100% live tracking city, in May 2018, to 23 cities by October 2021, with a presence in 31+ cities.
  • Chalo boasts an extraordinary expansion rate, having added one new city per month for the past two years. In addition, the number of products available to users/passengers grew.
  • The corporation continued to bring in the most cutting-edge and cutting-edge technologies worldwide to enhance the passenger experience.
  • Chalo App has been downloaded over 10 million times.
  • According to a study from October 2021, Chalo has a fleet of 15,000 buses in roughly 31 cities, conducting over 20 million rides every month.
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Digital Yug is an Indian digital media platform that posts real life stories, events, news, and blogs about startups, entrepreneurs, and successful people. The company was founded by Dr Anil Diggiwal in 2018 and is currently a privately owned, bootstrapped organization. This Jaipur based company publishes & focuses on undiscovered, small startup stories.

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