For some people buying makes more sense than renting, to others it’s just the opposite. To determine which is the right thing, one needs to analyse if they can afford to buy or not. With the case of vehicles, you need to be sure and confident before buying, especially in a country like India where expenditure outclasses salaries. One needs to keep other filters, like how long will you be using it and prospects for appreciation & taxes, in mind. There are a lot of zero down payments programs available which might come handy but people ignore to notice the closing costs and many other one time expenses. Insufficient savings may not stop a person from buying but it is a strong indication that it might prove to be a bad choice. A four wheeler is far dream for a lower middle class family, a student, or a fresher. To make things affordable and time savvy, Wheelstreet came into being.
Founded by Pranay Shrivastava, Moksha Srivastava and Mritunjay Kumar, Wheelstreet works as an online bike rental platform. The company doesn’t own any inventory, rather signs up with vendors, who are already in the market and provides these vendors an online platform to get audience. The company is basically dealing as an aggregator between the users and bike rental companies.
The company is planning to launch an app for the same. Since it works on an aggregation model, this app is going to be first app to cater to such features, Moksha claimed. “Bikes are always available on our portal which can be booked even before 1 hour from the pick up. (real time booking facility).”
She further added, “We soon plan to expand to Pune and Hyderabad. This will be followed by Chandigarh, Chennai and Pondicherry. And currently our app is in pipeline which we expect to launch by 20th of this month.”
During a conversation with Moksha, she said, “I was in Delhi and was a regular customer at one of the many rental vendors you find in the city. For almost three years, I continued to have the same harrowing experience. Fed up with the many ways everything work in this sector, I was ranted about this to Mritunjay and Pranay who were in Delhi which in turn led to the inception of the whole concept of Wheelstreet. This happened in March of 2014 and after a hard research for 6 months we were operational in November 2014.”
Monetisation & Traction
As the startup works as an aggregator, it monetises on a commission based model. Wheelstreet charges 25% of the total transaction cost from the vendors. On the same, Moksha stated that the company has collaborated with all the veterans in the bike rental business to provide a hassle free experience for its users. Also, they have standardized pricing with bikes for everyone. Starting from non-gear bikes to Harley and Hayabusa.
The company has completed a total of 12,000 rides since its inception. The company claims to have received 200 bookings in first month after the launch in Bangalore. Surprisingly, the ratio of women riders to male was found to be 3:4, the team added.
So how is the company differentiating itself from startups like ZoomCar or RentoMojo?
“We compete with all self drive rental businesses starting from Zoomcar, just ride to two wheeler rentals. The main difference Wheelstreet rides on is the fact that it is an aggregator in a market filled with vendors. Wheelstreet also differentiates with their technology that enables it to have real time updates on bike availability and executives to assist throughout the renting process, be it field or website. Also the pricing is one exception so if one is planning to take a self drive car for 3 days, they can always have a option of Royal Enfield for the entire month, it’s that cheap,” stated Moksha.
Market & Funding
According to Indian Auto Industry, India is the second largest motorcycle (6.54 m produced in 2007-08) and the fourth largest commercial vehicle manufacturer in the world. Over 13 million people work directly or indirectly in the auto industry. Indian passenger vehicle exports amounted to 622,000 units in 2014-15, while 2.46 m two-wheelers (mainly motorcycles) and 408,000 three wheelers were shipped overseas in the same year.
The company had closed angel round in December 2014, raising $18,000 and is expected to raise a serious amount for Pre-Series A. Also, Moksha stated that the company is looking to raise funds and is already in talks with the investors.