Gurugram-based bus shuttle service provider Shuttl has raised $11 Mn in a Series B funding round led by Amazon, Amazon Alexa Fund, and Dentsu Ventures, along with existing investors.
The company plans to use the funds for product development, expansion to new cities, and marketing. Shuttl is also looking at increasing the routes and frequency of its bus shuttle service in Delhi as well.
Founded in April 2015 by Amit Singh and Deepanshu Malviya, Shuttl provides an app-based office shuttle service which it claims is comfortable as well as economical.
Amit Singh, CEO and Co-Founder, Shuttl said, “At Shuttl our mission is to take the pain away from everyone’s commute and reduce congestion in cities via a seat-based smart bus option. We have shown that this can be done at scale. We will continue to improve the consumer experience, design more routes, and restore the dignity of commuting for millions of people.”
At present, the company provides services in seven cities including Delhi-NCR and pilots in Pune and Kolkata. Shuttl serve 45K rides daily and operates 800 buses and 150 routes.
Amazon India’s country head Amit Agarwal said, “By taking on the everyday urban commute, Shuttl is solving a large and relevant customer pain point. Amazon is impressed by Shuttl’s journey so far and excited to back missionary founders and management teams.”
In December 2015, the Sequoia Capital-backed bus aggregator raised $20 Mn (INR 135 Cr) in Series A round. The round was led by Lightspeed Ventures along with participation from Times Internet and existing investor Sequoia Capital.
In the last three years, by digitally enabling drivers-partners and transporters, Shuttl claims to have created and supported more than 250 small entrepreneurs in the transport sector. Shuttl also keeps adding technology enabled safety features, like face-recognition and live -CCTV feed, which are particularly important for working women.
Earlier, in July 2017, Shuttl had launched a new safety feature for its commuters — Shuttl SAFE (Secure Anxiety Free Experience). The Shuttl SAFE project provides multiple safety checks to every commuter through technology features embedded in the app. It also ensures responsible behaviour of its bus drivers.
Paul Bernard, director, Amazon Alexa Fund, which backs voice technology startups, said, “Millions of people use shared transportation options for their everyday commute. Voice represents a new, convenient way for them to manage these types of daily routines, and we look forward to supporting Shuttl as they work to deliver this experience to Amazon Alexa customers across India.”
Amazon Betting On Indian Startups
Global ecommerce giant Amazon has been increasingly making investments in tech-based startups in India. In May, it led a $12 Mn funding round in online-only insurance startup Acko.
In April 2018, SAIF Partners and Sequoia India-backed online lending platform Capital Float raised $22 Mn in a follow-on Series C funding round from Amazon Inc.
Agarwal talking about startups and said, “All the startups that are running… people should be very proud of what they’ve achieved.”
In December 2014, Amazon made its first investment in India by investing $10 Mn in Bengaluru-based gift card technology and retail startup QwikCilver Solutions. Then it acquired Noida-based payment gateway firm EMVANTAGE Payments Pvt Ltd for an undisclosed amount in February 2016.
Amazon was also one of the investors in Chennai-based financial marketplace BankBazaar, which raised nearly $110 Mn. During a recent interview with Livemint, Agarwal said, “BankBazaar is the kind of investment that hopefully can converge in the future.”
In November 2017, Amazon announced a collaboration with global crowdfunding platform Kickstarter and China-headquartered hardware accelerator HAX to aid the acceleration process of startups in India, with an aim of propelling the Indian Startup Ecosystem.
The Indian consumer Internet industry is poised to become a $125 Bn market by 2020. With Amazon continuing to bet on startups like Shuttl, Indian startups can leverage the experience and deep technological expertise of the ecommerce company to make it big.