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Shuttl: India's Bus Aggregator Aims to Solve Daily Commuting Problems of Close to 10K People In Delhi-NCR

Shuttl app enables customers to design routes, book a guaranteed AC seat, track the arriving bus on map, navigate to pickup point, board the bus with authentication, and comfortably travel to the destination enjoying music, reading or just relaxing. Commuting with Shuttl reduces congestion, pollution, stress on city infrastructures (toll plaza, parking spaces), and gives back precious travel time that was lost earlier in driving/standing.

Founders of Shuttle: Amit Singh and Deepanshu Malviya (L-R(
Shuttl: India's Bus Aggregator Aims to Solve Daily Commuting Problems of Close to 10K People In Delhi-NCR

BWDisrupt interacted with the founding team of Shuttl, Amit Singh and Deepanshu Malviya, to know how their venture is picking-up in India.

Founding date: 08 April,2015

Shuttl is India’s bus-aggregating platform that aims to make daily commute more convenient for urban intercity travellers. The company is based out of Gurgaon and caters to the needs of commuters in the Delhi-NCR region with around 10,000 rides per day.

Shuttl launched its tech-enabled platform in April, 2015 and has been funded by Sequoia Capital, Times Internet and Lightspeed Ventures. We currently operate on 50+ long routes with more than 300 buses on the platform. Shuttl is trying to solve the problem of young Indians looking for a smarter mode of commuting. The increasing traffic woes and pollution has led to the concept of Shuttl as a greener and smarter transport alternative.


Tell us in brief, how was Shuttl born?


We had gathered substantial experience in the transportation business in the first 10 years of our career, and we wanted to explore the transport domain. While scouting for the start-up idea, it became apparent to us that companies were trying to solve the inter-city travel issue using ride-sharing in private cars. There were players who have solved the problem very nicely, but not for people who commute on daily basis.

Also India isn't as evolved a market where a passenger would feel safe in a stranger's personal vehicle. That same person would be perfectly fine sitting next to a stranger in a public vehicle, like a bus. Commuting is the worst part of the day, and we wanted to come out with a solution to take the pain away from people of daily commuting and buses are the most efficient and cost-effective. Shuttl was the credible alternative to these people.

Although, buses have been the backbone of India’s public transport system. However, they run on key routes with limited arterial connections. Their sparse network has poor discoverability, lacks reliability, comfort and safety that urban commuters want.

Shuttl app enables customers to design routes, book a guaranteed AC seat, track the arriving bus on map, navigate to pickup point, board the bus with authentication, and comfortably travel to the destination enjoying music, reading or just relaxing. Commuting with Shuttl reduces congestion, pollution, stress on city infrastructures (toll plaza, parking spaces), and gives back precious travel time that was lost earlier in driving/standing.

How did you make it differently to be different from the existing players in this space?

Shuttl has pioneered a new transportation category by providing comfort and convenience of cabs at the price of buses. This is first time when consumer technology is being applied on buses; hence most of the innovation we’re doing is path-breaking.

Instances: We use sound based information transfer protocols to build two factor authentication for boarding detection. It’s extremely scalable as it works without network connection. Democratising commute through data driven approach towards route design wherein we superimpose density of commercial establishments and traffic patterns with crowd sourced route suggestions thereby optimising on resources, commute time and carbon footprint.

What''s your current Funding status?

Leading VCs namely Sequoia Capital, Lightspeed Ventures & Times internet Ltd are the investors in Shuttl. Sequoia Capital has invested in over 250 companies since 1972, amongst others: Apple, Google, Oracle, PayPal, Stripe, YouTube, Instagram, Yahoo! and WhatsApp. Lightspeed Venture Partners has backed more than 200 companies, including DoubleClick, Informatica, and TutorVista. The total cumulative funding that Shuttl has received is USD 23 mn post a Series A round last year.

That's great! Tell us about Monetization Model that you are using with Shuttle?

The revenue model revolves around revenue sharing with the bus operator on additional income generated for him on account of his association on Shuttl platform. The platform ensures additional income for him by data driven demand discovery and optimal utilization of the vehicle. Shuttl assets (buses) are available for branding on the outside as well as on the inside. A typical 40 seater bus, allows close to 150 square feet of branding outside and similar space on the inside. In addition, bus travel results in the creation of strong homogenous communities. Our analytics and data sciences engine is able to create profiles of these groups creating opportunities for cross selling of different consumer goods.

Can you tell us about the kind of Traction you have been getting in the recent months?

Buses have been the backbone of India’s public transport system. However, they run on key routes with limited arterial connections. Their sparse network has poor discoverability, lacks reliability, comfort and safety that urban commuters want. Shuttl app enables customers to design routes, book a guaranteed AC seat, track the arriving bus on map, navigate to pickup point, board the bus with authentication, and comfortably travel to the destination enjoying music, reading or just relaxing. Commuting with Shuttl reduces congestion, pollution, stress on city infrastructures (toll plaza, parking spaces), and gives back precious travel time that was lost earlier in driving/standing.

What kind of Marketing plans do you have in mind for Shuttle?

The marketing challenge is to make people re-evaluate their current commute service and opt in for Shuttl. We believe we have a strong product proposition that helps us generate demand through word of mouth. Having said that digital and experiential marketing are two key levers; to drive brand and business for us.

Our marketing strategy does not involve heavy spends on mass media. We are more focussed on creating a referral engine that will get new users to try us. Aside of that a discounted first ride enables users to sample the service without having to pay for the actual fare. Finally office activations in key hubs in the city, allow employees to discover a better commute option to office and help the cause of demand generation.

What kind of Challenges did you face initially and how did you overcome them?

a) Changing the traditional mindset of buses being uncool and uncomfortable is a big mindset change that we are influencing. With a fully AC fleet, dedicated seats and live tracking of each bus we are helping the urban commuter address the stigma of buses being uncomfortable and infrequent.

b) Creating our brand awareness economically is another challenge we are trying to address. As mentioned earlier, we do not spend heavily on mass media and stay extremely focused towards our target segment.

c) Some commuters are still new to an app-based commute and thus we strive to keep our app simplistic and user friendly and yet equipped with state of the art technology.

What is the Market size & opportunity you are looking at in the near future?

Overall, 30 mn bus rides happen in all Indian metros per day, Dehi NCR contributing to 5 mn of these. In addition to this, there are 2.5 mn metro rides happening in Delhi NCR alone and 9 mn Mumbai local train rides happening daily! This is the potential and reach that we are trying to cater to. It's a fact that the country's commute infrastructure is weak and bursting at its seam now. To make matters worse, traditional buses and local trains are not comfortable and do not guarantee a seat to the commuter. These are issues that Shuttl solves by the use of technology & operations.


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Shuttle founders app bus aggregator Delhi- Gurgaon

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