Indian motorcycle and scooter rental startup Bounce receives US$105M in funding
The new round pushes the startup's total raise to about US$194 million. The firm is developing sustainable ways to extend its reach in the country and manufacture its very own EVs.
The new round put the value of startup at an estimated US$500 million, up from about US$200 million in summer of 2019, as an individual acquainted with the issue told TechCrunch. The Series D round was co-led by existing investors Eduardo Saverin's B Capital and Accel Partners, according to Bounce’s announcement.
Bounce, which changed its name from Metro Bikes, gives its clients the opportunity to rent a two-wheeled vehicle at a starting price of just Indian rupee (about 15 cents US) for the first kilometer of the ride. The startup, which boasts over 120 thousand daily rides, lets the riders park the rented vehicle in a docking station that is close to the end of their trip or even small shops that are partnered with Bounce.
The startup’s earlier strategy involved sending an operational group to every city and overwhelm the market with its bikes, but as of late the firm has begun to change its approach, said co-founder and CEO Vivekananda Hallekere in an interview with TechCrunch.
“We realized that it was not the most efficient move to expand Bounce’s network on our own,” he said. The startup now partners with small shops and retailers in every city aside from running their own expansion strategy.
Bounce has implemented this methodology in six urban communities in India and has joined forces with over a quarter of a million shops and merchants. “We launch in the cities with our own vehicles, but overtime, these micro-entrepreneurs deploy their own bikes and scooters. They are still using our app, and are part of the Bounce platform, but they don’t have to be locked into our scooter ecosystem,” Hallekere clarified.
This change in approach to expansion stems from the firm’s hope of lowering costs and establishing a sustainable means to extend its reach in the nation. “Otherwise, I would need a billion dollar of debt to launch a million vehicles in India,” he said. “We wanted a model that is scalable and profitable, and helps us create the most impact.”
The startup is just one of several companies that are seeking to fill a market that ride-sharing companies like Uber and Ola have not been able to address. Among Bounce’s primary competitors are Uber-partnered Yulu and the company Vogo, which is backed by Ola.
Renting Bounce’s bike is cheaper than hailing a taxi, and in an urban, rush-hour traffic, two wheels are a lot quicker than four.
Another new strategy that is in the works at bounce is creating an ecosystem that is filled with its own EVs. The company has said that it has developed an electric scooter that dons a metallic body and can withstand a minimum of 200 thousand kilometers. The goal is to create electric motorcycles that will fit their shared-ride environment, something that is currently missing from the market, according to Hallekere. The startup plans to launch these new scooters in the coming months.