9 Questions for Bengaluru Zoomcar’s Homegrown American CEO

Zoomcar calls itself India's first 100 percent self-drive car rental company, and what’s more it’s headed by an American who loves working in Bengaluru and eating dosas in equal proportions.

Greg Moran, CEO and cofounder of Zoomcar, has dedicated his entire career to sustainable development across the globe. Greg is also deeply passionate about competitive eating and dosas (will someone please take Greg up on a dosa eating competition, very soon, please?)

1. Car renting or self-driving?

Self-driving will always be a priority for me. Prior to our launch in 2013, no player was offering a 100% pure play, self-drive car rental service in India. Zoomcar is fundamentally very different from the Olas and Ubers of the world in that sense.

When I came to India, I instantly understood that there would be demand for this service and that it had the potential to blow up the market if it took off.

2. Why startup in India, a country notorious for its low ease of doing business? 

India is one of the best markets in the world for this business. It’s a total white space and we thought we could build and grow to scale big. I had moved to India before Zoomcar was thought of, but I was always fascinated with the opportunity and scale you can achieve in India, so it was a natural fit.

3. Your experience raising funds 

Almost all the investors and people we spoke to initially ditched us. They hated the concept. The investors saw this as a highly difficult business in terms of execution risk. What I heard the most was Indians hated driving - odd given that I saw people driving their own cars.

It was in May 2013 that Zoomcar shot to limelight as it raised about 300,000 dollars from former US treasury secretary and professor at Harvard University, Larry Summers. We have so far raised about 50 million dollars, the last being a 24 million dollar round led by Ford Smart Mobility, a unit of Ford Motor Co., and existing investors Sequoia Capital, Nokia Growth Partners and Empire Angels.

4. What do you do when you aren't Zooming?

I'm cross-fit training enthusiast. At 7am, you will see me maxing it out at a suburban fitness centre. I make it a point to go for a run whenever I'm traveling. I start at 5:30am and run for 10kms. My love for fitness can be seen at the dining table too. I enjoy cooking a lot of healthy food using super foods like spinach, kale, sprout, beetroot and sweet potato. And I love playing piano - have been playing since I was 6.

5. One tip as an entrepreneur

Once you get a little bit of traction and you've secured a couple of early believers, all you need to do is consistently focus on two things: executing at an efficient pace and making sure that customer experience is rock solid. If you get these two things right, you can go far in your business.

6. What do you like best about working in India?

India gives you a lot of opportunities. I Iove Bengaluru; the generic perception is that Bengaluru is a garden city, IT and startup capital, home to VCs and tech companies. It is also home to people from different parts of the country who are here to explore their opportunities. Bengaluru has a culture quotient unique to it. 

7. What are your strengths and weaknesses as an entrepreneur?

I'm very tenacious and have a strong sense of resiliency. I'm also very energetic and passionate about our company's vision and this tends to inspire employees, I would say these are my strengths.

On the contrary, I tend to be fairly impatient at times when events don't move at a desired pace. I'm certainly working on the same.

8. Where do you see yourself 10 years down the line?

10 years down the line is a tough one. Most likely expect to be at the helm of a startup making an impact in the world of sustainability!

9. Funding or bootstrapping?

If you can bootstrap, that's great! Do it as long as you can. Most impactful sustainability businesses require funding however. What's most important is being efficient with the capital that you raise.

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