Online (and on phone) cab booking service , run by the startup LiveMinds Solutions Pvt Ltd, has announced its first round of fundraising from early-stage investor Your Nest Angel Fund and Mumbai Angels. VCcircle.com was the first to break the news regarding the fundraising. However, the amount has not been disclosed.
Currently operating in Mumbai, BookMyCab differs from other such service providers as one can book the non-AC yellow-and-black cabs, as well as AC cool cabs, at regular meter fare. The company claims to have landed a licence from the Maharashtra government to provide booking of these cabs over phone and via its portal. As of now, it has more than 1,900 registered cabs, according to a company release.
As part of the investment, Sunil Goyal, CEO and fund manager of YourNest Angel Fund, will be joining the board of BookMyCab as a nominee, as per the official release.
"We aim to improve accessibility to taxis for the average commuters by giving them convenient booking options via phone and on the Internet. We will also launch location-based iPhone and Android apps and social media module to allow commuters to book taxis via Facebook," said Raviraj Jain, founding director of BookMyCab.
Mumbai Angels, too, has been an active investor in tech startups. Some of its recent investments include Pune-based gaming startup Rolocule Games, Bangalore-based mobile, broadband and wireless technology firm United Mobile Apps and Bangalore-based education technology startup Carveniche, among others.
"Great team, world-class technology partner, licenced by state government and a scalable business model attracted us to partner YourNest in sharing the vision of BookMyCab.com," said Anil Joshi of Mumbai Angels.
BookMyCab was set up by a team of four – Jain, Avinash Gupta, Anuja Gupta and Nimalakar. Interestingly, the name they have chosen for their startup seems quite popular and we have found at least two more companies with similar names –and Book My CABS. Asked whether the Mumbai-based firm would consider rebranding (to avoid confusion), co-founder and director Avinash Gupta said, "We are now branding ourselves as BookMyCab.com rather than BookMyCab. Plus, there is always a possibility that other companies might be joining us when we venture into other cities. For instance, Book My Cab is a Delhi-based company and it may want to join us when we foray into Delhi. That kind of partnership is always an option and we have also filed to copyright our company’s name."
Getting a cab from BookMyCab is probably the least expensive for commuters as the black-and-yellow cabs registered with the company only charge by meter. Talking about the business model, Gupta said, "Other companies charge daily commissions, but we have a 6-month contract with each cab and charge them on a monthly basis. We have brought these black-and-yellow cabs on a platform and they are really getting good response. Also, we charge by meter and that’s why our cabs can always go the minimum distance. That’s our USP.”
Currently, the company has a team of 25 besides the founding members and is keen to grab a big chunk of market share in Mumbai itself before proceeding to other cities. According to Gupta, majority of the booking calls come for non-AC cabs and bookings are increasing every day. He, however, did not reveal the average number of daily bookings or other details. Gupta has also stated that by the end 2012, the company is looking to have a network of 3,000 cabs.
(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)