Cykul -- peddling a cycling culture in urban centres

K V Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on August 14, 2018 Published on August 14, 2018

Cykul's development centre in Hyderabad

To raise Rs 60 cr in pre-Series-A and Series A rounds for expansion

Deenanath Harapanahalli or Deena as he is known in IT circles, has an investment banking background, having set up an investment management company in India a decade ago. But talk to him, he hardly speaks about anything but cycling -- cycling events and infrastructure for cycling in smart cities.

No wonder he quit his job at Invesco to start his tech-based start-up, Cykul, to promote cycling activity in the country. But before setting up the start-up, he initiated the ‘Freedom Run’ in 2009 to kick off community participation in events around cycling.

Ten years later, the run has emerged among the country’s marquee cycling events, drawing thousands of cycling lovers around Independence Day and Republic Day. Cykul promotes a Freedom Ride, a Peace Ride and a Republic Ride that have been attracting thousands of cycle lovers. As interest in these events gained traction, Deena decided to set up an exclusive start-up, Cykul, to promote the cycling culture.

Deena was the Country Head for Invesco (India) from 2007 to 2013. Before that, he worked in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, private equity and financial services technologies.

After creating a buzz around cycling and cycling events, Cykul is now ready to fan out to other parts of the country. “We are going to raise Rs 10 crore in Pre-Series-A. This will be followed by Series-A, where we plan to raise Rs 50 crore. The Pre-Series-A part of funding will be completed in three-six months. We would like to expand to other cities with the proceeds,” Deenanath says.

From individual users to corporates and gated communities to metro users, Cykul is trying build a culture of cycling in the urban areas. With a stable of 2,100 cycles in four cities (Hyderabad, Gurgaon, Jaipur and Ujjain), the start-up charges Rs 399 a month as subscription.

Tech support

Deena’s technology team has developed a solution that lets users lock or unlock cycles parked in the designated parking lots in the gated communities and corporate premises. “Our command-and-control centre, which is supported by the tech platform, helps the team manage the rides, monitor the cycle movements and offer help,” he says.

The centre is supported by over 200 on-ground staff, comprising ride directors, mechanics, technologists and cycling experts to manage the stable and support customers.

Cykul has tied up with Hyderabad Metro Rail to provide last mile connectivity to commuters in five stations. “This goes a long way in encouraging people to take metro services. We will expand the services to more stations. We will consider setting up cycle bays at vantage points so that people can use the cycles to go to the stations and to their respective destinations after the metro travel,” he says.

Published on August 14, 2018
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