Hong Kong investment firm leads Rapido's Series A funding round

Bike taxi startup Rapido has raised $10 million (Rs 71 crore) in a Series A funding round led by Hong Kong-based multi-strategy private investment firm Integrated Capital.

Existing investors US-based Skycatchr, AdvantEdge and Astarc Ventures also took part in this round, the Bengaluru-based startup said in a statement.

For Integrated Capital, this is its at least second investment in India within four months; it had last year invested in tea cafe chain Chaayos.

Rapido, operated by Roppen Transportation Services Pvt. Ltd, plans to use the money to expand its operations to all major cities in the country, said co-founder Aravind Sanka.

The company aims to reach 25 cities by the end of this year. Currently, Rapido gets 2.5 million orders a month and plans to grow to 20 million orders by the end of this year, said Sanka.

Founded by Rishikesh SR, Pavan Guntupalli and Sanka, Rapido allows users to book bike rides for solo trips via a mobile app that can be accessed in multiple languages such as Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, Hindi and English. Rapido operates in Bengaluru and Delhi.

In 2017, it had raised $750,000 from investors including Hero MotoCorp chairman Pawan Munjal, Google India managing director Rajan Anandan and Astarc Ventures, according to VCCEdge, the data research platform of News Corp VCCircle.

In September 2017, it mopped up Rs 2.75 crore from US-based Battery Road Digital Holdings LLC and other investors.

The company had acquired Hyderabad rival Getbike to enter the business-to-business segment in May last year.

Dozens of bike taxi startups had sprouted across various states in the past two years but many of them shut down due to a lack of funding, operational challenges and regulatory hurdles. However, the scenario seems to have improved of late. Cab-hailing company Ola also operates a bike-sharing service. It had scouted for buyouts in the bike taxi segment but the plan did not work out. Uber, too, had plans to beef up its bike taxi service UberMOTO.

Rapido’s close competitor Baxi, incorporated as 74 BC Technologies Pvt. Ltd, had raised fresh funding from multiple investors last year. The Gurugram-based startup has, however, pivoted its business model from employing full-time bike taxi riders to hyperlocal delivery of milk and other essentials.

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