Akash Gupta, Mobycy co-founder
A key challenge for commuters using public transport such as metro or buses in big cities is the lack or poor state of last-mile connectivity. They have to choose between dilapidated and crowded share autos, or haggling with auto-drivers or hailing a cab for the short distance.
Soon, you could pick a bicycle from near a metro station or a bus stand and pedal down to your destination for a song — for Rs 10 or less an hour. Of course, you have to register and pay a deposit of Rs 999 first.
Offering this and more attractive monthly plans is Gurugram-based cycle-sharing platform, Mobycy, which wants to position itself as the ‘Uber for bicycles’.
It recently received $500,000 in seed funding from a US-based angel investor. Co-founded by Rohit Gupta, former marketing head of MobiKwik, it claims to be India’s first dock-less bicycle-sharing platform.
Unlike other bike-sharing systems, its bikes need not be picked up from or parked at a docking station.
Using its app, users can locate the nearest bike at any public place and rent and unlock it by scanning a digital QR code via the app. On completion of the ride, the cycles can be parked anywhere on public pavements, except inside private compounds or gated colonies.
The app uses an integrated IoT-based GPS lock technology to prevent thefts and geo-fence bikes. It has started with a fleet of 5,000 smart bikes in Delhi-NCR and Chandigarh.
Commuters can sign up on the app with their Aadhaar and pay the refundable deposit of Rs 999 (Rs 499 for students). Under the monthly plan, users will pay Rs 99 for two hourly rides per day.
The start-up will have three revenue streams: Ride revenues, partnership revenues and advertising revenues. ‘‘Based on our projections, we will start making money within three months,” Gupta said. It plans to increase the number of bikes to 50,000 in the next six months and enter 12 new cities.
Gupta said this could be a $1-billion opportunity as there are players in China who are valued at $2-3 billion each. With Indians turning health conscious, Gupta feels Mobycy could offer users a monthly fitness plan at just Rs 99. For commuters to adopt, cycling has to become fashionable, enjoyable and convenient, with dedicated lanes, parking pods and policy support from government.
The start-up has to contend with bigger players such as cab aggregator Ola, which introduced its dock-less bike-sharing service, Ola Pedal, earlier this month.