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Bangalore, June 28 India Value Fund (IVF), a private equity, will be investing an additional Rs 100 crore to help V-Link Pvt Ltd expand its fleet of branded metered city cab service. IVF — which owns a majority stake of more than 50 per cent in the company running its branded city radio taxi service, Meru Cabs — had initially invested Rs 200 crore when V-Link launched its business.

IVF has $1 billion under management committed by Indian and foreign institutional investors and family offices. It focuses its investments on healthcare, media and entertainment, and the transport sector, said Mr Prateek Roongta, Vice-President.

Meru Cabs, which currently operates its services in Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Delhi plans to invest the additional fund on expanding its fleet by 2,350 this year, recruit more drivers and scale up back-end infrastructure across the country. The company already has more than 2,000 vehicles.

Mr Roongta said the three-year-old Meru Cabs, expects its turnover to more than double to Rs 120 crore in FY 2010 from its current Rs 50 crore.

Brand building

Unlike in Mumbai, which still had strong metered taxi culture, Meru Cabs started its brand building in Bangalore and Hyderabad.

With the new airport being 40 km away from the city, cabs depended on airline passengers to popularise its service, said Mr Roongta.

He added that the city’s usage of Meru Cabs gained momentum in the last one year with 50 per cent of its daily trips coming from this segment against the initial 90 per cent.

Mr Gavin D’abreo, Vice-President (Marketing), Meru Cabs, said the company will be offering flexible payment options to its customers through credit and debit cards. The company had already tested the system in Bangalore and hoped to launch in September.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated June 29, 2009)
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