Rapido, a bicycle taxi aggregator in India, announced Monday that it has raised $ 52 million in a new round of funding as the six-year-old startup seeks space in an Ola and Uber-dominated category in the South Asian market.
The six-year-old startup’s new funding – Series C – was funded by Shell Ventures, Yamaha, Kunal Shah from CRED, Amarjit Singh Batra from Spotify India and Positive Moves Consulting. Existing investors Pawan Munjal from Hero Group, Westbridge, Nexus Venture Partners and Everblue Management also took part in the round, which brings the current capital increase to over $ 130 million.
Rapido offers its two-wheeler service in around 100 Indian cities. The startup claims to have over 15 million customers and 1.5 million driver partners, whom it calls captains. In recent years, the startup has also expanded into the tricycle space, which has seen 4X growth and hyper-local delivery in the 26 cities it operates in since last year.
In a statement, the startup said its platform, hit by the coronavirus pandemic that caused India to enforce lockdowns in several states, has already recovered by 85%. The startup attributed the growth in part to growing e-commerce and hyper-local delivery options in India.
“Although our product and business model are lucrative and have the potential to generate exceptional revenues, this fundraising shows more investor confidence in us than the need for capital,” said Aravind Sanka, co-founder of Rapido, in a statement.
He said the startup hopes to expand to 50 million customers over the next 18 months. The startup also plans to use capital to expand its technology stack – it wants to make strategic investments – and hire more people
Rapido’s growth follows a shift in the Indian mobility market, where Uber and Ola flooded more than a million taxis over the past decade. Two- and three-wheelers have proven their worth in urban cities because they drive through much faster and are cheaper.
Both Ola and Uber have also expanded to include two-wheeler and three-wheeler categories in recent years, partnering with companies like Vogo and Yulu. Ola has also expanded into the manufacture of electric vehicles. On Sunday, it launched its first electric scooter called the Ola S1, which costs 99,999 Indian rupees, or $ 1,350. The electric scooter offers a range of 121 kilometers (75 miles) when fully charged.