Former Google exec Amit Singhal backs DriveU

Bengaluru-based DriveU, which connects chauffeurs with private-car owners, has raised $3 million (Rs 19.4 crore) in a pre-Series A round led by Amit Singhal, co-founder of education non-profit Singhal Foundation.

Existing investor Unitus Seed Fund also participated in the round, said the three-year-old startup DriveU.

The funds raised will be used to strengthen DriveU’s operations in its existing markets Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, National Capital Region, Pune and Hyderabad. The money will also be used for expansion into other markets.

Using DriveU’s mobile app, customers can hire drivers for round-trips as well as one-way and outstation trips.

DriveU claims that its driver-partners earn a steady monthly income of anywhere between Rs 25,000 and Rs 30,000, while some earn in excess of Rs 40,000. The company, which has both business-consumer and business-business operations, claims to have over 6,000 background-verified drivers on its platform.

“Their business is growing at a strong pace, while maintaining positive unit economics (direct revenues and costs associated with a business model, expressed on a per-unit basis),” said Singhal, who invested in his personal capacity.

Singhal is the co-founder of Rajasthan-based non-profit Singhal Foundation, which focuses on providing education to talented children who do not have access to the necessary resources. He previously worked at tech giant Google and ride-hailing firm Uber.

In 2016, DriveU had last raised an undisclosed sum from Unitus Seed Fund.

DriveU, run by Humble Mobile Solutions Pvt. Ltd, was founded in July 2015 by Ramprasad Rahm Shastry, Ashok Shastry, and Amulmeet Singh.

Rahm Shastry was the first angel investor at TaxiForSure (now shut by acquirer and ride-hailing firm Ola) and also founded and exited a few technology firms. Ashok Shastry is a graduate from California State University. Before co-founding DriveU, he worked at TaxiForSure in marketing and operations.

Singh, who is the chief product officer at DriveU, earlier worked with FreeCharge, redBus and ZipDial.

Over the last two years, DriveU has made three acquisitions: Zuver and DriversKart in 2017 and CallAtHome in 2016, a Gurugram-based driver provider.

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