Bike taxi startup Rapido returns to pre-covid peaks

Bike taxi startup Rapido returns to pre-covid peaks


New Delhi: Online bike taxi aggregator Rapido said it has seen a sharp uptick in demand since the easing of the localised lockdowns in many states, and the business has touched pre-covid peaks in the past few weeks.

With more offices, schools and colleges opening across the country, Rapido is aiming at more than trebling the number of transacting users on its platform in the next 18 months.

“There are multiple instances these days of cab drivers and auto-rickshaws refusing customers,” said Arvind Sanka, cofounder at Rapido. “This has been driving up adoption of bike taxis.”

The company had recently secured $52 million in funding and plans to utilise the resources to expand its operations.

Rapido currently offers bike taxi services in 100 cities and auto-rickshaw services in 26 cities. With 150,000-160,000 bikes and 70,000 autos operating on its platform, Rapido is clocking 10 million orders per month across both categories, Sanka told ET.

Rapido is also working towards electrifying its fleet in Delhi and Bengaluru in line with government initiatives and looks to electrify a fourth of its two-wheeler fleet by the end of next year.

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“Not everyone will move to an electric vehicle immediately – they (bike taxi operators) will look at various aspects including the availability of financing solutions, charging infrastructure, and resale value while making a decision,” Sanka said. “The total cost of ownership has to make sense. We are working with intermediate companies which will help our captains move to an electric two-wheeler via rent or lease. We will function as demand generators.”

Bike taxi and auto businesses account for 55% and 25% of revenues for the company, respectively, with the rest 20% coming from hyperlocal delivery services that it ventured into last year to sustain operations last year amid a severe disruption in demand for mobility solutions following the Covid-19 outbreak.

The contribution of the three business verticals – bike, auto and delivery – is expected to remain the same going ahead.

Rapido has tied up with 25 small and large aggregators for delivery services, and almost 90% of the business comes from Swiggy, Zomato and JioMart.

The company recently secured $52 million in its latest round of funding from new investors including Shell Ventures, Yamaha, Cred founder Kunal Shah, Spotify India CEO Amarjit Singh Batra, and Positive Moves Consulting. The round also witnessed continued support from existing investors Pawan Munjal, chairman and managing director of Hero Group, Westbridge, Nexus Venture, and Everblue Management.

Rapido will use the resources to make strategic investments in innovations, technology, people, and supply, Sanka said.

“We are operating a profitable business and are well capitalised,” he said. “We will invest in technology, in onboarding people to strengthen the leadership team, spend more on user growth via brand-building initiatives, and enter new cities.”

The company currently has 15 million transacting users on its platform and aims to increase this more than threefold to 50 million users in the next 18 months.

Rapido, which started operations in 2015, had earlier raised $80 million from Westbridge AIF, Nexus Ventures, Sabre Investment, Skycatcher LLC, Bace Fund, and Integrated Growth Capital.



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