Start-up to give Mumbai’s Kaali-Peeli taxis a tech facelift

KV Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on January 20, 2018

Srikanth Lingidi, Founder and CEO, ApnaCabs

ApnaCabs builds platform to help drivers get more customers

An NRI techie, who’s come back from the US, promises to remove inefficiencies in the ‘Kaali-Peeli’ taxi system in Mumbai and similar services in other top cities in the country. It has signed 1,600 cab drivers to join the network.

Fresh with a licence from the Maharashtra government to run a cab service, ApnaCabs is not competing with Olas and Ubers by exclusively working in the black-and-yellow cab service spectrum.

“There are about 40,000 taxis in Mumbai. Of which, firms like Ola and Uber are covering about 15,000 taxis, the remaining are largely unorganised. We are using technology to reduce the inefficiencies and enhance incomes of Black-and-Yellow and Cool Cabs drivers,” Srikanth Lingidi, Founder and Chief Executive officer of ApnaCabs, told BusinessLine.

Like in other cab aggregators, this start-up doesn’t intend to have its own fleet. “We are not going to a competitor for our network members. We give them quick leads, increasing their incomes,” he said.

To raise $5 million

The firm, which employs 48 employees, has invested about ₹6.5 crore on building the technology platform and network. “We are planning to raise ₹33 crore ($5 million) in the next few months for expanding the services to Delhi, Pune, Hyderabad and Bengaluru. In Delhi, we have already roped in 200 drivers. We hope to commence operations there in two months,” he said.

An MBA from Duke Fuqua School of Business (North Carolina) in the US, he was the President of the US-based technology consulting firm Peopletek.

Like they do in Uber and Ola, customers can contact ‘Kaali Peeli’ taxi or a Cool Cab by making a phone call or through the ApnaCabs app. Srikanth said each of the cabs would be fitted with a proprietary safety device connected to the GPS. When pressed, the ‘panic button raises an alarm with the background team. “We can track the vehicle immediately. We are planning to align it with the public emergency system so that the cops could reach out to the victim at the earliest,” he said.

Promising ‘zero refusals’, Srikanth said the drivers are being equipped with soft skills to help them deal with the customers better.

For now, the company is not charging anything from drivers.

“We are focusing on the ads on the cabs for revenues. We are also in the process of having corporate clients for bulk bookings,” he said.

Published on February 19, 2016

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