RideaBird gives you access to shared personal electric vehicles (electric scooters) that can be picked up and dropped off anywhere. Startup Dunya in conversation with Pradeep Narava, Founder & CEO of RideaBird.
When and where did this ride begin?
We launched RideaBird on October 3rd, 2018, in Visakhapatnam.
Who gave you the initial launchpad to kickstart RideaBird?
My friends and a private network of well-wishers were instrumental in helping me set off on this journey.
What is the service you are offering?
RideaBird is the first vehicle-sharing company in India. Users can use a mobile app to access shared personal electric scooter (e-scooter) rentals. The foldable e-scooter has an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), which is a very important safety feature.
With RideaBird, it is fun and easy to commute.
Which problem is RideaBird trying to solve?
RideaBird gives access to shuttle easily by self-driving eco-friendly and smart e-scooters. We work closely with city bodies to help make transportation better & more environmentally friendly.
What is the key differentiator that sets you apart from other companies offering similar services?
Our rides are far cheaper compared to others in a similar business. They are also fun rides being offered for the very first time in India.
A user is also in complete control of their ride as they are self-driving. From the user’s mobile app, they can remotely lock/unlock the e-scooter with just the touch of a button.
The foldable scooters have in-built GPS tracking. One can also check the battery level and speed of travel.
Who would you consider as your closest competitor?
Companies like OLA, UBER, RAPIDO are offering competitive services but with a more premium pricing model.
How does the mobile app work?
One can easily login via a mobile number. The customer will receive an OTP to login. Post that, all they need to do is scan a QR code on the scooter and click on ‘START’ button to start their ride.
What options does a customer have to make payment for the use of RideaBird services?
A customer has a convenient option to pre-pay via all Digital wallets, net banking or even with their credit or debit cards.
Who are your target users?
Our primary users are between 18-35 yrs of age although we’ve observed much older people enjoying the rides with equal zest. At the same time, we ensure that our users are at least 18+ years old when signing up to use RIDEABIRD™.
What is your partnership model with universities?
We work closely with universities to run our scooters so that students can conveniently travel within the campus at an affordable cost and with the least amount of hassle.
What is your pricing model?
We charge very nominally at rupees 3 per minute up to an hour of usage and rupees 5 for unlocking the foldable e-scooter. Our minimum basic fare starts at rupees 50 for 15 minutes. Any user can easily afford to take a ride with us.
What was your ‘aha’ moment?
Launching at Beach Road, Visakhapatnam was an ‘aha’ moment for us as we were able to immediately get customers to try our rides on the very first day. This was achieved with no prior publicity and solely based on what value add the users saw in the rides. It was definitely a defining moment for us.
How has the local government / government bodies supported your enterprise?
We have received some support from the Government. They can play a key role in helping us set up more such locations. With our docked scooters, users can take convenient and affordable rides. Police can also help to create awareness and promote our rides with the general public as it’s a safe and environmental-friendly option to commute short distances.
Are you looking to expand to other cities as well?
We started with 5 scooters with one location at Beach Road, Visakhapatnam. We saw a tremendous response from the users who were excited to try these fun rides. This gave us the impetus to start some more ride points throughout Smart city – Vizag (Visakhapatnam).
We have recently launched in Kakinada and are looking to expand to other cities quickly.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
Getting permissions from the local officials has been somewhat of a challenge. Faster permissions will help us expand to new locations and reach new users more quickly.
Where do you see your company grow 3 years from now?
We are growing at a fast pace. Three years from now, in line with our business growth, we look forward to expanding our current team of 20 to around 500 employees.
We are also looking to collaborate with major companies soon.
You are creating a stream of entrepreneurs / RIDEABIRD™ Charger community who are willing to start their own fleet of operations round the world. How does this work?
A business owner purchases scooters and can set up in any location according to their owned permissions. We provide software as a service along with its maintenance and support. We also handhold other technical issues that may crop up during the rides but this rarely happens.
RideaBird had launched a safety campaign a while ago. Can you elaborate on it?
Safety is our topmost priority. We’re committed doing all we can to ensure that each and every ride is a safe one.
RIDEABIRD™ strictly believes in following all the local traffic rules including stop signs at all times. Our vehicles are throttled to 15 miles per hour for a customer’s safety. A Driving License is also a must to ride. RIDEABIRD™ is loads of fun while traveling with friends, but only one rider per RIDEABIRD™ is permitted.
We request all of our riders to wear a helmet when required and provide helmets to each customer who wants to ride.
We also make sure all of our riders know the rules of the road and how to ride a Bird safely.
What kind of support system will help launch your company to the next level?
We are growing quickly and are actively looking to expand our team in key functional areas like operations, marketing and sales support. We also need a strong HR team to enable and manage the right set of people joining RideaBird.
This business is both capital and manpower intensive. We are also looking for the right funding partners.
Sum up your journey so far.
We were fortunate to receive a tremendous response from the market. We finished a whopping 7k+ rides and have accumulated more than 10k+ customers in a matter of just 4 months, so it has been a very exciting journey for us so far.
What stage of funding is your company in?
We are seeking Venture capitalists for funding to take this business to the next level.
Your advice to others who wish to embark on their startup journey.
Be quick in taking decisions but they should be well-fleshed out. Do not get intimidated by any hurdles during your business journey; be confident in what you are doing. Commitment towards your business is an absolute must, even if it means staying up until 2 am to address some unresolved business.