After becoming one of the largest intercity bus networks in Europe and entering the US market, Germany-based bus aggregator FlixBus is all set to launch its operations in India.
Speaking to Inc42, FlixBus said that after identifying India as a potential market for the company, it has started its recruitment in the country. However, the project is still in an early business development stage and no concrete decisions have been made.
FlixBus uses an asset-light model followed by cab aggregators like Uber or Ola, wherein it doesn’t own any buses but provides operational support, such as bus scheduling, ticketing, among other things, while partners manage the day-to-day operations. The company fulfils this by partnering with regional bus operators. Flixbus leverages on dynamic pricing for bookings through an online platform and a FlixBus mobile app.
Founded in 2013 by Daniel Krauss, André Schwämmlein and Jochen Engert, FlixBus has become one of the successful startups of Germany. FlixBus is a subsidiary of FlixMobility, which also operates train services in Europe. The parent company reportedly works with close to 300 bus and train entities.
FlixBus’ international ventures began in 2015 when it launched its long-distance bus routes in France, Italy, Denmark, Netherlands and Croatia. The company now also provides cross-border services to Norway, Spain and Britain. FlixBus claims that It provides its bus aggregating services in 2,000 destinations in 30 countries.
The announcement of Indian expansion plans for Flixbus comes on the heels of its recent Series-F funding round which came in August 2019. At the time, the company has said that it will utilise a part of this fund to expand to South America and Asia. The company is backed by investors such as Luxor Capital Group, Odyssey 44, BlackRock, General Atlantic and Silver Lake.
According to an Indian government survey titled ‘Key indicators of household expenditure on services and durable goods’, bus is the most preferred means of transport in both rural and urban areas. The 2016 study added that about 66% of households in rural areas and 62% in urban areas have spent on bus travel.
After its launch in India, FlixBus is expected to face direct competition from players such as RedBus, RailYatri, ZipGo, among others. Paytm, Makemytrip, Yatra also offers bus booking services on their platforms.