Four Individuals from different parts of Bihar got admission to T.S Chanakya, Mumbai through IIT JEE. They got an opportunity to live a significant part of their lives after college in metropolitan cities & going around different parts of the world in the Merchant Navy. However, when they returned to their home towns & villages in vacation they felt sorry about the state of affairs in their birthplace when compared to other cities they had lived. One of the major challenge faced by people in these rural areas was unavailability of transport facilities; this was not only making their lives difficult but also was serving as a major barrier preventing people from using facilities & opportunities available in nearby cities. Any changes to the existing circumstances seemed to be a distant dream.
In 2015 one of the founders of DOOT Cab took his family for a trip to Mumbai. They returned back to the local railway station of Bihar at 23:00. He tried to hire a taxi & to his utter surprise was asked to pay 3 times normal price, the attitude of drivers also concerned him about the safety of his family members during 2 hours ride to his village. The family members were used to such state of affairs which we called ‘Normalization Of Deviation’ & were even prepared to spend a full night at the station right at the start of the trip. This served as the final nail in the coffin & led to the birth of DOOT Cabs.
DOOT Cabs was incorporated in July 2017 by Rites Raman, Dinesh Kumar, Saurabh Kumar & Umesh Kumar, it started operations in April 2018. Even before operations were started, DOOT Cabs was certified as a promising start-up by Bihar Government under Start-Up India scheme & Chandragupta Management Institute was designated for further Incubation. The services were launched in 4 districts of Bihar right from start, Existing operators in these districts were brought on one common platform. Services were appreciated right from the first day of operation with 50% quarterly growth of customer base. Networking is gradually reducing the cost of travel as well as increased earning of existing taxi operators. Customers are getting verified drivers & taxi with pick up facility from districts headquarters as well as various remote locations. DOOT Cabs have been very instrumental in connecting a huge existing base of taxi operators with a large number of customers in need of transport services. Projected retention of customers by DOOT Cabs is 82% & 42% of the customers’ book rides repeatedly with us. Networking has reduced the cost of travel by 15% within a short duration & is projected to drop by up to 45% of existing market rates with an increase in the customer base. The earning of taxi operators is projected to increase by up to 1.25 times & is increasing employment opportunities in these areas.
Rites Raman (Co-Founder & Director) was kind enough to answer a few questions for us to shed light on their business as well as their perception of the industry and more.
Any plans for competing with the big ones like Ola & Uber?
DOOT Cabs is targeting those parts of India which have not been covered by any major cab aggregator – This leaves more than 75% of India as our target market. Doot Cab’s business model & Customer base differs vastly from leading aggregators, Also the area we are targeting is vast & it will take some time for us to achieve this goal. Our current traction shows that our operation in such region is leading to the organic growth of customer base in cities where big cab aggregators are operating & since we are operating in the same sector there is no denial in the fact that we will meet other aggregators somewhere on the horizon. India’s transport sector has huge potential and is expanding at all times.
Are you planning to expand to any other states/regions in India?
Yes, in accordance with our business model our first goal is to cover Bihar completely & then gradually expand to other states. As of now, we are a bootstrapped organization & how fast we are able to reach different milestones will depend upon various factors including our fundraising campaign.
The automobile sector in India is apparently facing a slowdown and one of the reasons being cited is the growth of cab aggregators. What’s your opinion on this?
In a country where people always prefer to buy over renting out, It is wrong to say that cab aggregators are the reason for this slowdown. If we have a closer look we will see that the reasons why people are preferring renting a car rather than buying are traffic congestion, rising commute time, hassle in parking & last but not the least air pollution. So looking at the gravity of these issues, Cab aggregators are actually a solution to a bigger problem. Cab aggregator activity is giving us some extra time to find & execute solutions to these underlying issues. I am sure with the development of small cities, rural areas & infrastructure, the demand for automobiles will grow again. But the current situation has definitely broken some social barriers for renting against buying & owning a car for social status, this will be beneficial for cab aggregators in the long run.
How’s the working relationship between the founding members?
All the founders have suffered from the pain points, what DOOT Cabs is trying to address. United by a common goal, Born & brought up in small city & village of India, from a common educational background & garnered by tough profession of shipping all of us fully understand the importance of good teamwork. We are determined to make & be the change we want in the world together.
What message would you like to give to the aspiring entrepreneurs of India?
As mentioned earlier, for me entrepreneurship gives an individual immense power. It gives you the power to be & make the change you want to see in the world. It is a very adventurous roller coaster ride, where ups give you immense satisfaction & downs can completely knock you out. Hence it is very important to always keep an eye on your goal & never lose trust in yourself & your dreams.
In spite of being a bootstrapped Private Limited organization, DOOT Cabs is currently providing outstation travel solution to more than 200 customers every month & more than 600 customers are using their services repeatedly for travel needs all over Bihar. With 89% of Bihar’s population & 67% India’s population living in rural areas, having completely unorganized travel infrastructure DOOT Cabs has a huge potential market base.
DOOT Cabs is currently operating in 6 districts of Bihar i.e. Patna, Muzaffarpur, Darbhanga, Chapra, Gaya & Bhagalpur. DOOT Cabs is working hard to achieve its goal of reaching every district of Bihar by 2021 & to make travel affordable, comfortable & at fingertips for every need for people living in any part of India & to make villages smart village. Doot Cabs has been granted stage 1 approval by State Industries Promotion Board, making it eligible for incentives under the Bihar industry promotion policy. DOOT Cabs is the only cab aggregator in Bihar to be recognized & certified to carry out cab aggregator operations all over the state in compliance with Bihar Aggregator Policy 2019.
We wish them luck for all theri successful endeavours!