Transport tech startup Chalo has raised $7 Mn funding from existing investors Raine Ventures, WhatsApp’s former chief business officer Neeraj Arora, and former senior vice president and head of Google Search Amit Singhal. The family offices of Dabur’s Saket Burman and Tarun Sawhney of Triveni Group also participated in the round, along with other investors.
With this latest round of funding, Chalo has raised a total of $30 million till date. According to media reports, in 2019, Xiaomi’s Shunwei Capital was looking to acquire 10% stake in the company for INR 50 Cr ($6.8 Mn, at current conversion rate) at a valuation of INR 500 Cr ($68 Mn, at current conversion rate). This was expected to be part of the company’s Series B round.
The company, which was founded in 2014 by Vinayak Bhavnani and carwale.com’s cofounder Mohit Dubey, had raised its Series A round in 2017 from WaterBridge Ventures and seed round in 2015-16. The startup helps users navigate through the daily schedules of buses in 30 cities. The company also offers solutions for consumers and bus operators.
It offers live bus tracking showing live arrival times of the buses and a live passenger indicator that shows how crowded the bus is in real-time. The passengers can also use the Chalo app to buy mobile tickets and bus passes and pay digitally for their bus ticket using QR codes.
Chalo, previously known as Zophop, will use the latest funding to expand its network into multiple cities and increase the penetration of digital tickets technology in the already operational cities. The company says that it has noted an increased demand for digital ticket, live bus tracking and live passenger indicator as it has turned its focus towards safety and eliminating contact.
Besides this, it has also launched its near field communication (NFC) touch-to-pay smartcard, Chalo Card, in 12 cities across the country.
Talking about the funding, CEO Mohit Dubey, said “Buses are not just the most affordable means to commute, they are fundamental for the cities’ economy and revival. Chalo digitises these buses and makes them safe and reliable – with live tracking and contactless digital payment. We are building a unique company to improve experience in stage-carriage buses using a full tech stack.”
Last month, Mumbai-based app-based bus service Cityflo raised $7.7 Mn in Series A round led by Lightbox Ventures to expand its services on the current and new route. The company is looking to enhance its offerings beyond industry standards and strengthen its position as a daily commute brand for the city’s working professionals.