Intercity mobility startup Zingbus on Tuesday announced that it has raised INR 44.6 Cr in a funding round led by Info Edge ventures.
The Pre-Series A round also saw participation from a line of other investors from silicon valley like FundersClub, Pioneer Fund, Anim Fund (Founders Fund Scout), Locus Ventures, and Liquid 2 Ventures. The existing investors Advantedge technology fund, 9Unicorns, and Venture Catalysts also participated in the round. The startup is also backed by Y Combinator.
According to a statement from the company, it has also received backing from a clutch of value-adding angels like NFL fame Joe Montana, Alan Rutledge, John Jersin, Ankur Nagpal, Vinod Gupta, Ben McCan, and Harry Robertson among others.
As per these statements, the newly acquired funds would be utilised to develop technology for the next leap of improvement in traveler experience and expand the service to new geographies. The startup is also hiring across engineering, product, business, and operations profiles.
Founded in 2019 by Prashant Kumar, Mratunjay, and Ravi Kumar Verma, the New Delhi based startup aggregates fleets of buses to deliver an end-to-end standardised intercity travel experience to its customers.
Prashant Kumar, CEO of Zingbus, said, “We see the pandemic as a black swan event for the entire intercity bus industry. It has upended this unorganized, highly fragmented, and mainly unbranded market. The current industry dynamics are such that we find ourselves in a unique position to build something precious quickly. The pandemic has led to higher expectations of hygiene and safety from customers. Contactless, hassle-free boarding process, amongst other technology tools, has helped us fulfill this post-covid need beautifully. Once the traveler associates the Zingbus brand with safety, they will prefer it to others.”
In addition to aggregating fleets of buses, the company has also been simultaneously building tools for audits, boarding, and demand management, which has helped struggling traditional fleet owners in coping with the operational challenges with minimum manpower investment from their side in a post-lockdown world. As per the company statement, Zingbus now aims to run 250-plus buses by the end of this year.
India’s mobility sector, had been on a path to recovery since June last year, as Covid restrictions were eased across the country and demand began to pick up again. From 113 Mn rides in January 2020, the sector recovered 69% of its pre-Covid volume or 78 Mn rides in March 2021. The recovery would have continued, if not for the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic which hit India in April, 2021 and forced several states to again impose weeks-long lockdowns and curfews. According to estimates from management consulting firm Redseer, mobility startups including app-based aggregators and shared mobility players had a peak demand of around 113 Mn monthly rides as of February 2020, which plummeted drastically to below 10 Mn monthly rides during March, April and May 2020.
Over the past year, the rise in demand for inter-city bus travel has been one of the most unexpected trends. The primary reasons behind this rise are the recent focus on highway expansions and scaled-back train services, affordability and lack of train seats. For instance, on average 86% of the trains are overbooked on a regular basis.
In response to this rise in demand for the service, several startups in the bus travel space have emerged. Examples of these startups include Delhi-NCR-based Ixigo, YoloBus, and IntrCity.