The pandemic’s impact on the mobility, travel and hospitality sectors has been a constant narrative in the past year. With travel and mobility hampered, startups have had to look for pivots, new features or services to keep their businesses going, but not all are able to. Gurugram-based bus aggregator Shuttl has now announced that it is shuttering its business and exploring merger and acquisition opportunities with Indian and international companies, according to cofounder Amit Singh.
“We’ve taken a tough but practical call. A call that best takes care of the interest of our team, customers, partners, shareholders. The call is to join forces with another entity. An entity that’s less impacted by Covid & can better tide over these challenging times.”
In a tweet thread this weekend, the cofounder explained the company’s position, the stop-start nature of the business since last year and how it will have to let go of people now to tide over the crisis. Singh said that the company will provide 3-month to 6-month severance packages to those who will be let go by Shuttl.
“We are in serious discussions with some companies, Indian & International, to merge to become a stronger force. We’ve been positively surprised to find out about their respect for our offering, product, team, & culture. It makes us even more proud of our body of work.”
It is important to note that Shuttl has been preparing to launch its services in Bangkok, which Singh is one of the key areas of focus for Shuttl in the immediate future. The company was serving over 100K rides every day before the first lockdown last year.
Founded by Amit Singh and Deepanshu Malviya in 2015, Shuttl had a presence in six cities — Delhi NCR, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Pune, Mumbai and Chennai. However, its operations came to a standstill after almost all companies shifted to work-from-home in 2020 amid the pandemic. With India flagging off the Covid-vaccination drive, many businesses have begun their operations from offices, giving Shuttl the opportunity to resume their services once again, but the second wave has caused deep cuts, Singh said.
Shuttl had already laid off employees during last year’s Covid lockdown in May. The bus aggregator was left on shaky footing after its financial performance in FY20. Shuttl reported a 48% spike in its revenue for the financial year that ended in March 2020, before the company had to shut-down operations temporarily. The company’s revenue grew from INR 101 Cr in FY2019 to INR 149 Cr in FY2020.
The growth of Shuttl’s revenue was a result of its growing operations, which earned the company INR 142 Cr in FY2020, 45% more as compared to INR 98 Cr in FY2019. Its expenses, on the other hand, grew by 52% from INR 206 Cr in FY2019 to INR 314 Cr in FY2020. Subsequently, Shuttl reported a loss of INR 165.5 Cr in FY2020, representing a 56% hike from INR 106 Cr reported in FY2019.