UTOO drives into crowded taxi space

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on January 20, 2018

C Sivasankaran, entrepreneur, and KVP Baskaran, CEO, UTOO, at a press conference, in Chennai, on Thursday Bijoy Ghosh

Venture by entrepreneur C Sivasankaran

UTOO Cabs, a taxi-hailing service launched on Thursday by entrepreneur C Sivasankaran, will be positioned on value-added service in the fast-growing cab service business. “It will not be a ‘me too’ service, but will exceed customer expectations,” he said.

Announcing the soft launch of the service in Chennai, ahead of a countrywide roll out, Sivasankaran said 180 cars have hit the streets. He said the city’s UTOO fleet will become 1,000 in 30 days and 8,500 in four months.

UTOO will be rolled out in nine cities with at least 1,00,000 cars in the first phase (within four months), and 1,80,000 cars will cover 104 cities and towns in 18 months.

Sivasankaran said the initial investment in creating an own fleet before beginning to attract vehicle owners to UTOO is ₹300 crore-₹1,200 crore, which he will bring in with the support of his associates.

‘Profitable business’

“I see a profit, I enter,” he said, explaining his reasoning behind investing in this business.

Recalling his innovative approach in running diverse businesses, including telecom company Aircel and premium coffee chain Barista, he said UTOO will be a success based on differentiation in “price, performance and quality”.

The brand promise is ‘Cars. Not Cabs’, he said. The drivers will be trained, polite and dressed in a uniform, with service available at current market prices, he claimed. Initially, the fleet will have sedans, which will later be followed up with small cars. Being a relative late entrant into the segment, Sivasankaran says he would not repeat his competitors’ mistakes. Early entrants such as Uber and Ola have helped open up the market.

KVP Baskaran, CEO, UTOO, who previously ran Aircel, said the objective is to partner with the driver, who is a key element in sustainable operations.

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Published on June 09, 2016
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