Startup Street: Rapido Begins Its Delhi City Service Amid Odd-Even Curbs
This week on Startup Street, an Indian bike-taxi startup is hoping to use Delhi’s odd-and-even rule to gain a user base in the city. The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade will approach the cabinet to implement the 2024 startup vision; China’s ByteDance, the owner of TikTok, denied planning to list the company in the U.S. or Hong Kong; and co-working venture Hub and Oak is set to open two new centres in the national capital. Here’s what went on.
Rapido’s Odd-And-Even Opportunity
Bike-taxi startup Rapido eyes to cash in on the opportunity provided by Delhi’s odd-and-even rule to curb winter smog for establishing a user base in the city.
From Nov. 4 to Nov. 15, vehicles ending with odd and even registration numbers will ply on alternative days. Two-wheelers are exempt and ride-hailing services have to stop surge pricing. Rapido announced free rides during the period in the national capital.
The Bengaluru-based startup, launched in 2014 as ‘theKarrier’, is the Indian version of Southeast Asian unicorns Go-Jek and Grab and has now launched rides in central and South Delhi routes, focusing on metro commuters.
Rapido started services in the rest of the National Capital Region including Gurugram, Noida, Ghaziabad and Fridabad in 2016—when the odd-even rule was first implemented—and saw its bookings jump. Rapido now targets to expand into Delhi city in areas like Vasant Vihar, HauzKhas, Paharganj, Saket, Kamala Market, Tilak Marg, Rajiv Chowk, Chanakya Puri Tuglak Road, it said.
Delhi’s residents are struggling for clean air as pollution hit “severe plus” levels on Friday, prompting the Supreme Court mandated Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority to declare a public health emergency. Every year , the capital is engulfed by a winter smog, made worse by crop stubble burning in neighbouring states and Diwali firecrackers.
In an interview to Forbes this time last year, Rapido said it set a goal of reaching 10 lakh rides each day in 2019. Offering services in 90 cities in India, the startup has a base of 1 crore registered users so far, according to its statement.
The startup raised Series B funding of Rs 391 crore in late August 2019 led by Westbridge Capital with participation from Nexus Venture Partners, Ant Financial-backed BAce Fund, Astrend India Investment and is now valued at Rs 1,005 crore, according to YourStory that cited filings with the Registrar of Companies.
DPIIT To Approach Cabinet To Roll Out Startup India Vision 2024
The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade will soon approach the cabinet to seek approval for implementing a comprehensive plan for startups that proposed series of steps for budding entrepreneurs, PTI reported citing an official.
Under the Startup India Vision 2024, the department proposed measures like easing regulatory requirements for startups such as reducing tax compliance time to just one hour per month and facilities of debt financing.
The other proposals include setting up 500 new incubators and accelerators, creating innovation zones in urban local bodies, deployment of entire corpus of Rs 10,000 crore fund of funds, operationalise credit guarantee scheme, and establishment of a seed fund.
The vision document proposed providing work orders and pilot projects from government, ranking of ministries and central public sector undertakings for their increased engagement with startups, and organising a global startup event in the country.
They are trying to take a consolidated view on startups, considering what kind of policies are required for them, what benefits are required, how each ministry needs to deal with them and how their compliance burden can be reduced, the official said.
At present, startups comply with a plethora of requirements such as goods and services tax filings, tax returns and other local laws every month. Compliance to these processes takes a lot of time and cost.
Startup India is the flagship initiative of the government, launched in January 2016, to build a strong ecosystem for the growth of new businesses. So far, as many as 24,250 startups have been recognised by the department and are eligible for different tax incentives.
TikTok Owner Denies It’s Planning IPO
Chinese internet startup ByteDance, the owner of TikTok app that has triggered security concerns in the U.S., denied reports that it was considering an initial public offering in Hong Kong in the first quarter of next year.
The Financial Times reported quoting unnamed people that ByteDance, said to be valued at up to $75 billion, was eyeing a listing in the city despite months of violent political protests there.
“There is absolutely zero truth to the rumors that we plan to list in Hong Kong in Q1,” the Beijing-based company said in a statement.
The company is focused on hiring staff to beef up its international operations before considering an initial public offering in the U.S. or Hong Kong over the longer term, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.
The world’s most valuable startup is still only at the very early stages of exploring a share sale abroad, the people said. Any float remains a long-term objective given ByteDance first needs to hire a chief financial officer and remains well-funded, the people said, asking not to be named because the matter is private.
Hub And Oak To Set Up Two New Coworking Centres In Delhi
Co-working startup Hub and Oak is set to open two new centres in the national capital comprising 750 seats with an investment of about Rs 4 crore, a top company official said.
Founded by Srishti Dhir in 2017, Hub and Oak has four co-working centres comprising 300 seats in the national capital--at Defence Colony, Bhikaji Cama Place, Nehru Place and Jasola.
“We are coming up with two new centres in Delhi by the end of this year. The locations have already been finalised. These new centres will take our capacity to over 1,000 seats,” Dhir said.
The company focuses on providing space to professionals such as lawyers and chartered accountants, she added. Hub and Oak provides seats in a price range of Rs 10,000 to Rs 12,000 a month.
Dhir said the company has invested about Rs 1.2 crore to set up these four operational centres and will put in Rs 4 crore more on these two new co-working facilities. The company's revenue is Rs 20 lakh per month currently and will reach Rs 60 lakh with opening of these new centres, she said.
“We operated one centre in Defence Colony for over two years at 100 percent occupancy before we decided to expand and grow this business. Now, we want to expand and open centres across India through blitz-scaling strategy," said Dhir, who is an alumna of the London Business School.
Co-working segment has been performing well in India because of demand for quality flexible office space from corporates and startups. According to property consultant JLL India, office space taken up by co-working operators was 13 percent of the overall net leasing of 32.7 million sq ft during the first nine months of 2019.
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