Sustaining carpool business in India is tough. It can be gauged from several failed attempts by local as well as global players. France-based global carpool major BlaBlaCar had wrapped up active operations in India at the beginning of 2017 while local startups failed to scale as they anticipated.
Another attempt by German carpool service Wunder has failed to take off even after burning multi-million USD in the Indian market. The company had taken down its public app and stopped open platform operations in India from July 19, according to a notification sent by the firm to users.
It was operational in Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai. Surprisingly, the company claimed to have a decent business till March this year. It’s not clear whether B2B operations of Wunder is active in India or not.
Wunder started local operations in October 2017 and sustained it for about 21 months. According to an Inc42 report, the firm had raised $30 million in an extended Series B round in September last year. While we don’t know whether it was able to raise $30 million or not, it’s unlikely that the company will shut down Indian operations after raising a hefty sum.
Wunder Mobility had joined the ranks of several companies who either shut down operations in India or on an autopilot mode. Rocket Internet-backed Tripda, Sharedcab and Lifto had shut down entirely while BlaBla and Togo have been running without the operational team in the country.
Trust and security have been factors that make carpool business non-lucrative in India. Shared mobility platforms, including carpool services, were under close glare after several incidents of sexual harassments by drivers of Uber and Ola.
Additionally, Indians consider carpooling very informal. This is the reason why we don’t see carpool as a popular medium for daily office commute (even with office colleagues).
Unlike others who failed in carpool segment, Bengaluru-based Quick Ride has been able to make a significant dent. The company is operational in 10 cities including Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune, Mumbai, Delhi-NCR. It had recently claimed to complete 21 million trips in the past four years.
Quick Ride appears to be an exception, and it would be interesting to observe how it scales further without significant glitches.