What is BookMyTrain?
Anduril Technology backed Bookmytrain.com was founded in February 2015 by Anurag Bajpai and Pooja Chauhan, to offer cash-on-delivery on train ticket booking. Anurag has experience in field of logistics and distribution. He has worked with First Flight Couriers Limited for more than 17 years and was responsible for the introduction of “Cash On Delivery” in the courier service domain.
Pooja is an undergraduate with a suit in Maths and Computer Science. Before starting Anduril Technologies, her last assignment was with Pine Labs as a CTO.
Anduril Technologies (ATL) is a Noida-based startup incubated under Amity Innovation Incubator. ATL specializes in building “scalable” technology solutions in the business domains of Payments, Microfinance, Telecom and ERP. The product line caters to businesses with technical as well as operational scalability challenges.
Bookmytrain.com is ATL’s latest product, which aims to solve a major problem faced by thousands of train travelers. It has partnered with e-ticketing website, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), and has offered “cash-on-delivery” option for buying railway tickets. It offers IRCTC customers an option to book their travel on Cash of Delivery, in turn making the payment more convenient.
How the idea came to start BookMyTrain?
75% of the ecommerce business in the country is from the travel domain. COD (cash on delivery) plays an important role in the balance 25% e-tailing as revealed from high score of COD transactions.
The idea to start BookMyTrain.com was conceived by the fact that many people who have access to Internet (through mobiles or PCs) are still not able to transact online, despite the convenience that it offers, simply because they are uncomfortable with using their debit or credit card online, or they do not have net-banking access.
“We thought to ourselves – why not bring the ease of online ticket booking by offering cash-on-delivery facility, which is the most preferred payment option in a cash economy like ours,” as per company’s founders.
How does it work?
The company’s website or mobile app allows people to book a ticket with an additional feature of “Cash on Delivery” as a payment option. Currently, the app is available for Android, iOS, BlackBerry and Windows phone users.
It happens quite often that by the time a user validates a transaction on a payment gateway, the availability turns into wait listed on account of time consumed to validate a transaction, with “COD” the ticket gets blocked with just a press of a button.
What problems is it solving?
The online medium flourishes with new users accessing the internet everyday. But there are people who are uncomfortable with using their debit or credit card online due to the perils of online payment transactions, or they do not have net-banking access.
The startup brings ease to online ticket booking by offering cash-on-delivery facility, which is the most preferred payment option in a cash economy. Until now, the only option available for majority of people was to either spend hours in a line at railway reservation centers or to book a ticket through an agent. BookMyTrain offers them a third option – simply use BookMyTrain website or mobile app to book a ticket and pay for it in cash, and have it delivered to their home or office.
What are its key (special) services and features?
Apart from choosing the cash-on-delivery option while buying tickets, a user can check his/her booking history, apply for refund or file a TDR. If a user is comfortable, he/she can opt for online payment as well.
How has the response been till now since the launch of the app?
In a short span of operations since February 2015, BookMyTrain has received over 100,000 registered users and more than 60,000 app downloads so far across mobile platforms.
The startup is doing close to 6000 transactions on a monthly basis, 60% of which is COD. The average ticket size is Rs 1500-1800. Maximum no. of tickets are booked from Delhi/NCR, followed by Maharashtra and Karnataka region.
What are the startup’s future plans?
There is a growing demand for railway tickets with cash-on-delivery facility. To address this, BookMyTrain is planning to expand its services from 200 cities at present to 750 cities and towns in next few weeks. The company is also prepared to serve a larger chunk of train travelers if IRCTC allows service providers like them who are in the business-to-consumer segment to enable ticket booking in 8:00 am to 12:00 noon window as well. This will prevent hundreds of train travelers to get harassed by agents and touts.
How much funding has the startup has raised and from whom?
The company is bootstrapped and has raised funds from friends and family. However, it is open to the idea of raising funds.