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Mumbai-based on-demand bus aggregator, CityFlo, has raised $750K (about INR 4.8 Cr.) in a funding round led by IDG Ventures. The team is mentored by Housing.com’s co-founder Advitiya Sharma.

CityFlo was founded in August this year by Jerin Venad, Subhash Sundaravadivelu, Rushabh Shah, Advaith Vishwanath, Ankit Agrawal and Sankalp Kelshikar. CityFlo works together with the biggest bus operators in Mumbai to provide a reliable mode of transport for Mumbaikars at an affordable price. Using the CityFlo app, a commuter can find route and timing info, and can book a ride to work.

Private bus owners, on their own, do not have too many routes within the city. Most that do ply intra-city, are usually company buses for employees. This is where CityFlo steps in, it helps bus owners utilise their buses more efficiently by running multiple routes during the day. Unlike for longer trips, customers are not restricted to a single private bus company.

Since launching the app and operations in September, CityFlo runs over 60 buses and is currently doing 2,200 rides per day. On the limited routes provided by the startup, 77% of its customers are repeated users.

Tickets on CityFlo cost about INR 3 per km with an average ticket size of INR 60 per commute booked. The prices are same as the AC bus fares on Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) local city buses. As of now, the platform sees an average of about 1,800 seat booking transactions on a daily basis.

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The company will utilise the funds to penetrate bus routes in Mumbai and then expand to other cities.

Currently, CityFlo offers its service in 10 routes across Mumbai. These routes connect western suburbs (Mira Bhayander, Borivali, Kandivali), eastern suburbs (Thane, Mulund) and Navi Mumbai (Vashi, Khopar Khairane) to Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC). The company recently added routes to the second hub, Andheri.

The CityFlo app is currently live on Android platform, however, its iOS app is still under development and will be out soon.

How it works:

User can book ticket in a three-step process: 1) select route 2) select time 3) book ride. Since the route doesn’t change everyday for a customer, they also have a ‘Recent Ride’ feature on their app which makes it even faster for regular users.

As per industry estimates, buses are a prime mode of travel in India. About 1.5 lakh buses transports some 70 Mn people every day.

Other players who can compete with CityFlo may include Rbus, Shuttl and Zipgo; RBus and Cityflo target long-distance travellers, primarily office goers in AC buses meanwhile Shuttl, runs services for short distances in restricted areas like Gurgaon.

Besides, Ola is also planning to invest about INR 120 to INR 150 Cr. to launch a bus service. The company has started piloting some routes in the Delhi-NCR region.


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