Startups

TECH STARTUP OF THE MONTH – Apna Cabs

A contrarian taxi aggregator, ApnaCabs is the brainchild of Mr.Srikanth Lingidi, the former president of PeopleTek Company in USA. ApnaCabs saw its inception in the year of 2015. The vision of company is to bridge the gap that exists in the current taxi aggregation models. The focus is to ensure the security of the passengers via its security device APNA COP, consistent pricing of rides due to alignment with the government rates since ApnaCabs is a licensed aggregator, availability of various booking options including deferred booking and offering customers the most consistent, secure and hassle free experience.

The story and the statistics

ApnaCabs is a relatively new startup in the cab service arena. It got licensed in 2015 and became operational soon after that. It’s really worth mentioning that the startup which is hardly a year old is already going good and currently running more than 1700 taxis across Mumbai city. Though it is at present operational just in Mumbai, ApnaCabs aims to expand its service to other metropolitan cities soon and also to scale up operations in Mumbai.

What ApnaCabs offers

• Clean, fresh, new cabs.• Polite multilingual chauffeurs.• Eco-friendly ride with CNG taxis.• Equally convenient for long distance and short distance rides.• Printed receipts for each journey enabling you to account for your expenses.• Prepayment through credit or debit cards accepted.• Access your cab in a jiffy through our call center or app.• Every cab tracked and monitored by our proprietary GPS based technology.• 24-hours Customer Service Center.• Available for point-to-point transfers, airport and railway station pick-ups and drops.• Hire by hours – for 4, 8 or 16 hours.• Foolproof security with a panic button in every vehicle.

Key problems ApnaCabs aspires to solve

Currently the cab service providers are struggling to ensure safety for women passengers. APNACOP device is a technology enabled solution which acts as a deterrent in case of any threat to the passenger. The backend team is also working on new features to be added soon. There is also a pricing model that helps to predict the pricing which ensures that customers do not have to undergo a rollercoaster ride when it comes to the payment.There are multiple booking options, for example, booking is not restricted only to the app. Senior citizens and those who don’t use smartphones can still use the telephone and book the cabs for them. ApnCabs uses taxis fitted with CNG kits to ensure reduced carbon footprint.

The Key Persons

Mr.Srikanth Lingidi: Founder and CEOMr.Govardhan Reddy K: DirectorMr.Goverdhan Reddy brings 25 years of management and entrepreneurship experience building profitable businesses in diverse areas such as Software development, security systems, automotive services, Education and, Infrastructure projects. He has successfully run big organizations and manages more than 200 resources currently.Srikanth Lingidi is the Founder and CEO of ApnaCabs. Mr.Srikanth is a visionary with deep expertise in Business Strategy and Technology. He brings with him more than 15 years of global experience in chalking out business intelligence based decision systems for global corporations. He has been running a technology consulting company in USA for last 10 years.Srikanth helms the overall operations of the company with a special focus on business strategy and technology. With a strong tech background, Srikanth leads ApnaCabs with his inimitable enthusiasm and 360-degree perspective. He is also adept at navigating through problems, discovering long-term solutions and guiding businesses to a path of sustained success. All these attributes make him a perfect leader for start-up environments.More on ApnaCabs, let’s know it all from Srikanth:apna cab1 EX: Hello Mr.Srikanth, tell us about ApnaCabs and its journey since inception till today.Srikanth : We wanted to provide safe and completely secure travel solutions in the city of Mumbai. Instead of getting new fleet, we wanted to leverage the existing KaaliPeeli taxis, which are a part of the heritage of Mumbai and enable them with technology as there are around 40,000 taxis on the roads.Taking a firm step in this direction, we applied for the call taxi scheme, which is probably one of the best schemes introduced by the government. We are working with what is considered to be lifeline in the Mumbai transport system. This gives us a natural advantage. And even response from the driver community is encouraging, we are in process of expanding our fleet size with the time.EX: In the crowd of biggies, what measures do you take to make ApnaCabs stand out?Srikanth : We are a government authorised aggregator, which is the biggest differentiator. We have received our license under the “Call Taxi Scheme 2010” of Maharashtra. We aggregate eco-friendly KaaliPeeli and Cool Cabs, instead of getting a new fleet into market. This way we are able to equip the existing drivers to take advantage of technology, instead of adding to the congestion on the roads. We are also the first to install physical panic button for security of customers, especially women passengers. Our security model is one of a kind and is another differentiator.

apna cab2

      Mr.Srikanth Lingidi, Founder and CEO

EX: Was setting up the startup an easy one? Narrate us your story of struggles and winning those over.Srikanth : ApnaCabs was borne with a vision of bridging the gaps in the aggregator business. Significant amount of time was invested in learning about these – the intricacies of the business, the softer aspects that would make a difference in the long run and make us a sustainable business. Our attempt from the beginning is to make this a predictable business for all stakeholders.So it did take quite a lot learning and meeting up people and trying to understand the business from everyone’s perspective. It was quite an effort to get the license too. The process is quite stringent and we stuck to it and got it.Managing the operations remotely from the US, when it was required for me to be there for couple months required that I set up a full proof system to monitor the operations. Innovatively, I could manage it.It took us a while to convert the taxi drivers to win them to our thought process. Customers have been happy with our service so far. We had to get our revenue model right as we did not want to go with the aggressive discounting route. We are now at the stage where we are looking to grow aggressively. We are talking to various investors to raise the next round of funding to enable us to scale. So far the journey had its share of challenges, however it was worth it as it helped us learn and move forward.EX: In today’s world where everyone can actually afford a private car of his own, how do you foresee cabs services in a decade since now?Srikanth : Public transport is the most used medium for commuting world over. For matters related to comfort, convenience and relative costs, cabs always have a higher rating. We feel cab service is an option that will always be preferred by commuters and is here to stay until something really radical happens.EX: ApnCabs is currently working in Mumbai. Any plans to widen services in other metropolitans in the near future?Srikanth : ApnaCabs is currently perfecting the model in Mumbai. The gaps in the aggregator business are quite high and we are trying to plug those. There are quite a few developments that we would be ready to make public in the course of the next few weeks.We have been studying the market in Delhi and Hyderabad, discussing with government officials on how to better the aggregator business. Our security model concept has been well received by all the government officials we have spoken to so far in several states in the country. We will be launching our services in Delhi and other cities in the next few weeks.EX: What all gadgets do you personally use?Srikanth : I find Apple products most effective for both my professional and personal use. I have two iMacs that I use to simultaneously work on two projects. Otherwise I am very curious about new technologies, moment something new hits the market I am on it and try and see to figure out what are the possible applications areas beyond the obvious. I am very inquisitive about GPS, Wi-Fi and networking technologies and am trying my hand at innovating around this area.EX: Suggestions to the newbies who have similar ideas in mind as yours?Srikanth : I have always done things unconventionally and listened to what my heart had to say. It has gotten me so far and I am in a good space currently. My decisions even if I have gone against the tide have worked for me. So I can only say going with what you believe in and giving it your all will ultimately lead to discovering who you really are.

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