Inter-city taxi aggregator AHA raises angel funding

Outstation travel taxi aggregator AHA Taxis, run by WAAH Taxis Pvt Ltd, has raised an undisclosed round of angel funding from ah! Ventures, it said on Thursday.

While intra-city cab services business in large cities is dominated by the likes of Ola, Meru and Uber, inter-city travel is still an unorganised market. Indeed, Ola used to initially offer outstation cab services too but discontinued it over time.

While a few funded ventures such as Meru, TaxiGuide and Savaari do offer booking platform for outstation travel, AHA Taxis claims it solves an additional pain point by charging only by actual distance travelled. Most others charge a return fare from customers even for one-way trips, as they are not assured of passengers on return journey.

AHA Taxis provides service in more than 100 cities currently and is expanding to 100 more cities by mid-2016. Besides its website, it takes bookings on its Android app.

AHA Taxis was founded in April this year by Amit Grover (ex-Infosys, Asian Paints, Onida and IIT-IIM alumnus), along with Praveen Samariya (ex-Times Internet and IIT alumnus), Kunal Krishna (ex-Headstrong and Copper Mobile), Kumar Arayan (ex-Swiggy, Askmebazaar and NIIT) and Shivam Mishra (ex-Crazzy and college dropout).

It counts Vikas Taneja of Games247 as an advisor.

The capital raised will be used for upgradation of technology, marketing and operations. It is also planning to expand to tier II and tier III cities, and start coverage of non-tourism sector beyond usual routes. The company claims to be doubling its business every month and now aims to achieve 10 times growth within a year.

Amit Grover, founder, AHA Taxis, said, “Taxi sector has been growing by leaps and bounds in India, with OLA and Uber serving local travel. We felt that there is a gap in outstation travel which needs to be addressed by using technology and marketing.”

Harshad Lahoti, founder and CEO of ah! Ventures, cited Association of Radio Taxi India and said the taxi business in the country is growing at 20-25 per cent a year. “The organised taxi sector accounts for just 4-5 per cent of the industry and totals $800 million. By 2020, it is expected to grow almost 10 times to $7 billion. Revenues for taxi service providers are expected to grow at a CAGR of about 25 per cent during 2014-19."

The firms that are trying to disrupt the inter-city road travel market include Naspers-owned Ibibo's Ryde, Rocket Internet's Tripda and BlaBlaCar.

AHA Taxis is ah! Ventures’ second investment this month. Earlier this month, it invested $250,000 in an online game-based engagement learning startup Shirsa Labs.

It also invested in Medhavi Professionals Services Pvt Ltd, which owns and operates online portal and co-invested in Eywa Media Innovations Pvt Ltd, a data analytics startup that provides digital signal processing solutions for broadcasters.

It has also invested over $1 million each in Origa Leasing and Ewya Media.

ah! Ventures backed AHA Taxis through its private investment platform, CLUB ah!. CLUB ah! has more than 550 investors, including angel investors and early-stage VCs.

ah! Ventures said it is also  closing two more deals in the coming weeks.

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