Online aggregator for outstation travel AHA Taxis, which is operated by Noida-based WAAH Taxis Pvt. Ltd, has raised an undisclosed amount in pre-Series A funding from ah! Ventures and Lead Angels Network.
The startup will use the fresh capital to expand its operations to new cities besides strengthening its service offering to customers, it said in a statement.
Traditionally, intercity taxi operators charge a return fare from customers even for one-way trips, as they are not assured of passengers on the return journey. AHA Taxis claims to address the issue of double fare for outstation taxi travel by charging only by the actual distance travelled.
The startup was founded in April 2015 by Amit Grover, along with Praveen Samariya, Kunal Krishna, Kumar Arayan and Shivam Mishra. While Grover previously worked with Infosys, Asian Paints and Onida; Samariya earlier worked with Times Internet. Before starting up, Krishna worked with Headstrong and Copper Mobile while Arayan was with Swiggy and Askmebazaar and Mishra was with Crazzy.
“Three years ago, we set out to provide affordable and available outstation taxis. Our solution caters to thousands of customers and drivers every day. Our investors’ confidence in us, despite the presence of biggies like Ola and Uber, is a big positive,” Grover said.
AHA Taxis, which counts Vikas Taneja of Games247 as an adviser, claims to help users save 40-50% on outstation taxis in over 350 cities across India.
In November 2015, the company had raised an undisclosed round of angel funding from ah! Ventures.
“Since ah! Ventures’ seed round investment in AHA Taxi, the company has grown over 10 times to 1,000 cities and 10,000 routes. Despite the immense competition from Ola and Uber, AHA Taxi has created its own space, maintained set standards and provided satisfaction to customers,” said Harshad Lahoti, founding partner and CEO of ah! Ventures.
While a few funded ventures such as Meru, taxiGUIDE and Savaari offer booking platforms for outstation travel, the market still remains largely unorganised, dominated by individual taxi operators.
Several small players set up operations in the intercity cab hailing space over the last couple of years to test the market for a viable business opportunity. With Ola and Uber’s entry, many of these startups found it difficult to raise follow-on funding after the seed and early-stage rounds.
The cab business involves a lot of investment and time to build an ecosystem of drivers which necessitates continuous fund flow.
Some of the players that raised VC investments in this space include intercity cab rental platform MyTaxiIndia Pvt. Ltd that raised an undisclosed amount from a Dubai, UAE-based investor in February this year..
Online outstation taxi marketplace InstaCar raised $1 million in seed funding from Hong Kong-based Swastika Company in September 2016.
In July 2016, Wiwigo Technologies Pvt. Ltd raised Rs 4 crore (around $595,000 million) from Indian Angel Network (IAN) and two high-net-worth individuals. Wiwigo is an online platform to search, compare and book outstation one-way and round-trip cabs.
In September this year, Delhi-based Vecto Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which operated inter-city cab aggregator Roder, shut down operations. According to its co-founder Abhishek Negi, the startup was forced to shut shop due to rising acquisition costs and low repeat rate for outstation travel.