Amazon Alexa Fund, Dentsu lead Series B round in bus aggregator Shuttl

Gurugram-based Super Highway Labs Pvt. Ltd, which operates bus aggregation platform Shuttl, has raised $11 million (Rs 75.5 crore in current exchange rates) in a Series B funding round.

Amazon Alexa Fund co-led the round along with Japan-based Dentsu Ventures, the company told separate media publications.

In June, TechCircle first reported that Shuttl was going to raise $11 million (around Rs 76 crore) from new investors Amazon and Dentsu Ventures and existing investors.

Of the $11 million, Shuttl has already received $5.6 million (Rs 38.30 crore) in a tranche led by Dentsu Ventures, along with existing investors Sequoia Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Times Internet Limited (TIL). Ambiga Subramanian, co-founder of data analytics MuSigma, had also invested in her personal capacity.

As per TechCircle estimates, the three-year-old venture is likely to have raised this round at a post-money valuation of roughly $80-85 million (Rs 550-590 crore)

E-mail queries sent to Shuttl’s co-founders Amit Singh and Deepanshu Malviya seeking confirmation did not elicit a response at the time of publishing this report.

Shuttl’s last known external funding took place in 2015, when it had raised $20 million in a Series A round from Lightspeed Venture Partners, Sequoia India and TIL.

Amazon Alexa Fund
The Alexa Fund, founded in 2015, is a $100-million vehicle to fuel voice technology innovation. In November 2017, the company topped up the fund with additional capital to the extent of $100 million.

According to an article from online tech media publication Fast Company, the fund is part of the company’s effort to identify more Alexa-showcasing companies and products around the world. The fund has three parts to it—a VC-style investment arm, an accelerator, and a university fellowship programme.

Shuttl was founded in April 2015 by Singh, an alumnus of Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi, and Malviya, an IIT-Kanpur graduate.

Currently operational in Delhi-NCR, the platform provides shuttle services across more than 50 routes with about 600 buses, averaging around 30,000 rides a day. Shuttl also separately caters to corporate and also provides vehicles for rentals, according to information available on its platform.

In September 2016, Shuttl had launched a feature called ‘chirp’, which automatically identified a commuter while boarding a bus, a company blog had stated.

According to the company’s filings with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, it posted operational revenue of Rs 14.34 crore in the financial year 2016-17, a seven-fold increase from Rs 2.23 crore in the previous year. Its net losses widened to Rs 59.07 crore, up from Rs 52.54 crore in 2015-16.

Other players
Shuttl is among the best-funded players in the space. Other bus aggregation startups include ZipGo and Cityflo. The trio position themselves as cheaper and greener alternatives in the metros, providing long-distance trunk routes connecting housing suburbs with business hubs.

In April last year, VCCircle reported that Bengaluru-based ZipGo Technologies Pvt. Ltd had raised Rs 33.4 crore ($5.2 million) in a Series A funding round co-led by ON Mauritius, part of Omidyar Network, and Chennai-based early-stage investment firm VenturEast Advisors.

In November 2015, Cityflo had received $750,000 (Rs 4.9 crore) in seed funding from IDG Ventures and an unnamed investor.

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