Bangalore-based DriveU, which connects chauffeurs with private car owners over a mobile marketplace, has acquired its Chennai-based rival DriversKart in an all-stock deal, the company said in a statement.
DriversKart is an on-demand driver-service provider primarily catering to the business segment.
DriversKart, which is run by Get Driven Technologies Pvt. Ltd, was founded by serial entrepreneur Vinit Srivastava, former Jabong executive Lakshmi Potluri and former Cognizant executive Saksham Grover in 2015. It enables users to hire drivers on an hourly, weekly or monthly basis through its app.
Post-acquisition, Srivastava will take an advisory role with DriveU and Kopal Maheshwari, COO at DriversKart, will head the business-to-business (B2B) segment at DriveU, it said.
“Both, DriveU and DriversKart have maintained price discipline and built sustainable businesses, benefitting customers and increasing drivers’ incomes. With this acquisition, DriveU will now offer a compelling service to the B2B segment as well,” Srivastava said.
Interestingly, DriversKart had acquired Mumbai-headquartered rival Driven in May 2016.
In April last year, the company had raised Rs 3 crore ($450,000) in a pre-Series A round of funding led by ah! Ventures.
DriveU, which is run by Humble Mobile Solutions Pvt. Ltd, was founded in July 2015 by Ramprasad Rahm Shastry, Ashok Shastry and Amulmeet Singh. Ramprasad Shastry was the first angel investor at TaxiForSure. He has also founded and exited a few technology-based firms. Ashok Shastry is a California State University alumnus. Prior to co-founding DriveU, he worked at TaxiForSure in marketing and operational roles. Singh, who is chief product officer at DriveU, earlier worked with FreeCharge, redBus and ZipDial.
DriveU caters to both consumers and businesses across six cities—Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi NCR, Pune and Hyderabad.
This is DriveU’s second acquisition in the same segment. In May last year, the company had bought out Gurgaon-based on-demand driver provider CallAtHome in an all-cash deal.
“DriveU plans to expand to over 10,000 drivers and 10 cities by the end of this year,” said Ramprasad Shastry, CEO, DriveU.
In March 2016, DriveU secured an undisclosed amount in investment from Unitus Seed Fund.
The DriveU booking platform is available on the web as well as on Android and iOS platforms. The drivers charge a flat rate of Rs 99 per hour along with applicable service tax charges. To date, DriveU claims to have completed over 150,000 trips, serving over 50,000 customers with its 1,500 partner drivers.
A few startups have come up in the driver-on-demand space in the last two years. DriveU competes with Zimmber, Driver Bulao, Zuver and Drivify. Besides these, some home services marketplaces, such as UrbanClap, also provide drivers on demand. However, DriveU’s main competitors are local on-call taxi operators. Unverified estimates peg the market for temporary driver services in India at $8 billion.
The lion’s share of this market is unorganised and fragmented.