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Car Rental Economy on the Rise: A Case from Myles

“The average usage of a car in a year is less than 150 days. Over 200 days a year a personal car sits in your garage depreciating in value and appreciating in cost owing to the maintenance and parking requirements. With this understanding, Myles was born.” – Myles CEO

Car Rental Economy on the Rise: A Case from Myles
Car Rental Economy on the Rise: A Case from Myles

“Self-drive is the next engine of growth for travel in India. With the growing individualism and my space phenomena, we introduced Myles, our self drive option for all discerning users”, says Sakshi Vij, Founder & CEO, Mylescars.com. The parent company of Myles is Carzonrent India Pvt Ltd. which also operates EasyCabs. Here’s more about Myles and what it’s like to be female boss from Ms. Vij.

Why did you decide to start Myles?

We saw a huge opportunity in the transportation industry. This opportunity was much larger than the opportunity in the taxi industry that is being disrupted by multiple players across the world.

This was an opportunity to disrupt the personal car ownership market.
According to the Cars Online survey conducted by Capgemini, in 2014 it was observed that 59% of Indians looking to buy a car were open to the idea of an alternative mode of ownership. This was primarily because of the need of greater flexibility, convenience and lower financial burden.

We started Myles after I had studied the growth of car sharing and self-drive services and technology enablers in the global landscape. We started with 14 cars and 3 cities in November 2013. We were sold out for the next 1 month in the first five days of our putting those cars on our platform. This proved the fact that the time was finally right for self-drive rentals to grow in India. There was in fact a latent demand from travelers in India, who would love to explore Indian roads, but didn’t really think it was possible to find a self drive rental in the country.

How does Myles work and what are Myles’ monetization paths?

Myles focuses on being a technology platform that connects the car owner (fleet operator in our case) with a car user. We connect the two and ensure a seamless experience for the two. The fact that the car owner can utilize a car up to 60-80% of the time ensures that they can monetize this asset instead of using it as just a personal car. We make money on the greater utilization of this inventory as well.

Why is Myles special and different from competitors?

This has encouraged many regional and multi city players to emerge. However, our unique asset-light model tries to develop an alternate ecosystem to car ownership.

With a few clicks on the mobile one can now drive away with a car of their choice for a price as low as Rs. 50/hr. This being a fraction of the cost of actually owning a car across categories, we see the product changing the car usage patterns of the young urban populations.

[Myles allows people who own a car to list it for rental on the Myles app or website]

How has Myles been funded?

Carzonrent has funded us from our inception for an undisclosed figure. We are now also looking at raising investments from PE funds. These funds will be used for technology upgradation, customer acquisition and improving consumer experience.

Tell us how Myles has grown so far

Myles has seen a steady growth in the last few months. What started with 14 cars and 3 locations has grown to over 1200+ cars and 250+ locations with presence in 21 Indian cities.

There is an evident shift in the usage pattern where our weekly and monthly bookings have shot up by 80% and 100% respectively. It's an established trend that weekend getaways have been getting popular, however the significant increase in the ‘car-days’ (number of days a car is rented) clearly suggests that Myles’ alternative car ownership model continues to gain acceptance among Indians.

Over the period of time since our inception we have seen a surge in the demand from customers who are tourists, NRIs (non-resident Indians), young urban professionals, and single female travelers. We have seen rise in the metros to manage this growing demand we have consistently. Today, searches on our website have grown to over 8 lakh a month from 95,000 a year ago.

Any memorable marketing strategies for Myles?

“The great Indian breakup” remains one of our most successful marketing campaigns. It’s about striking out the commitment of owning a car from your long list of commitments.

Future plans

To further cater to the growing demand for self drive, we are ramping up our fleet to 5,000 Myles cars over the next 1 year. In the next 4 years we would like to bring together a fleet of 50,000 cars in 50 cities spread across over 5,000 locations. We want to provide a Myles car every 300 meters in a city. We are currently a community of more than 150,000 Mylers. We hope to get around 5 million members in the next five years.

Any challenges faced setting up? How is it being a female boss?

Our biggest challenge has been our biggest success as well. We are trying to encourage people to give up the need to buy a car. This means that every customer we approach has to make a huge lifestyle change of not having a car standing at their doorstep all the time. However, we tackle it through delivering convenience, affordability and flexibility in the self drive rental experience.

I don’t think being a female boss makes any difference. My knowledge and passion should define my business sense. What is different is that as women, we are today entering industries that were no traditionally considered women dominated.

Share with us some best and worst memories while running Myles

As a consumer driven company, positive feedback from the members make my best memories. Myles is revolutionizing the way people travel. We’re overwhelmed with the response on social media. Our members treat Myles as not just a car, but a travel companion.


Tags assigned to this article:
myles carzonrent self drive car rental

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