Bangalore-Based Vogo Automotive Pvt Ltd has raised an undisclosed amount in seed funding led by the family members of the Murugappa, A.V. Thomas groups & Thiagaraja Groups. The current funding round also saw participation from Ajit Thomas, Chairman of A.V.Thomas group, Hari Thiagarajan, ED, Thiagaraja Mills, Muthu Murugappan, Business Head Nutraceuticals – EID Parry,Sriram Viji from Brakes India, Vishesh Rajaram from the VC fund, Speciale Invest, Karan Chandhok – Indian formula 1 driver and other HNIs.
The funds will be used for building out the automated technology platform, innovation, building out the technology team and growing marketing efforts, the company said in a statement.
Launched in 2016 by Anand Ayyadurai, Padmanabhan Balakrishnan & Sanchit Mittal, The startup operates a tech-enabled scooter sharing platform called VOGO that would enable urban commuters to rent scooters for short-haul and offer a quick and cost-effective alternative to cabs and autos. The company currently operates in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Manipal & Mysore and get over 5000 orders a month.
According to Vishesh Rajaram, Speciale Invest, “Short-haul and last mile commute are large components of urban commute and sized in billions of dollars. Current options for cars, auto are expensive, and buses are inconvenient. Vogo is disrupting this segment by offering a more efficient, automated and cost-effective option of scooter sharing and renting. They operate an asset light model and have a differentiated product road-map that puts them ahead of the pack.”
The company also announced the launch of India’s first automated pickup and drop scooter rental platform, and these scooters are called SPARK. Once customer books, he uses an OTP to get the key and start the scooter. Every smart VOGO scooter has been engineered by the VOGO team with a complex array of sensors which transmit millions of data points. It can be remotely tracked, monitor and control every Spark in real time and have made a mechanical scooter a connected intelligent IoT device. This ranges from vehicle health measurement via fuel and battery sensors, GPS for tracking, dicky and handlebar sensors and much more. This lets VOGO rebalance supply and demand, offer dynamic pricing and do intelligent bike allocation.
This now allows VOGO to offer 24/7 service & one-way travel at 50% of the price of autos and taxis. VOGO plans to scale this automated system across hundreds of pickup and drop locations in each city and raise a large institutional round in the coming months to build a large pan-India network.
According to Anand Ayyadurai, CEO, VOGO, “We started out by identifying an early adopter segment, college students & solving their commute problems. Now more than 15000 students across 15 colleges and four cities use VOGO: we see them substituting taxis and autos with us. We believe that what happened with China with cycle sharing will happen with India with scooter sharing. In 2017, we focused on building the automated IoT system to scale the business and now have end-to-end engineering capability across embedded systems, software development, and automotive space.”