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    HomeBusinessFull throttle: Rapido goes for an electrifying ride

    Full throttle: Rapido goes for an electrifying ride

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    Besides expanding its EV range, Rapido has lofty plans for its on-demand delivery service Local

    Bike-taxi aggregator Rapido aims to electrify a quarter of its two-wheeler fleet in the next three years, while expanding its overall fleet to cover more metros, tier-I, II & III cities.

    To this end, it is seeking to collaborate with fleet operators and OEMs (original equipment manufacturers). Its recent fund-raise of `13.7 billion crore in a Series-D round will help finance this upgradation plan, says Aravind Sanka, co-founder, Rapido.

    According to Allied Market Research, India’s bike taxi market was valued at $50.5 million in FY21 and is expected to reach $1,478 million by FY30, registering a CAGR of 48.5% from FY22-30. The key mobility players are Ola, which began selling electric scooters last year, and Uber, which too has been attempting to get a slice of the burgeoning e-bike market through various collaborations.

    Vrooming ahead

    Rapido also aims to double its customer base to 5 crore by the end of the current fiscal. Its customer base currently stands at 2.5 crore while driver-partners for bike-taxis number over 15 lakh. The mobility platform’s revenue and user base have increased three times in the last six months. Autos have been a major source of new consumers, says Sanka.

    “Forty of every 100 new users we get come from the auto service. It is a more established category and a lot of people are already comfortable using autos,” he adds. As such, it is planning to expand the fleet of over two lakh autos to up to five lakh autos.

    However, Sandeep Goyal, managing director, Rediffusion Brand Solutions, says ensuring quality manpower and training, especially in smaller towns, which includes vehicle upkeep, fleet renewal and driver safety, could be difficult. “Managing these at scale is not easy,” he warns.

    On-demand delivery

    Bike-taxi is Rapido’s core business, contributing up to 60% to its revenue, followed by auto (30%) and the rest from Rapido Local — its on-demand delivery service. While 90% of Local’s revenue comes from Zomato, Swiggy, BigBasket, Reliance Jiomart, etc., the rest is from the small presence it has in the customer-facing pickup-and-drop business, which is dominated by platforms such as Dunzo.

    Sanka says the focus for Local is to work more with enterprise clients as it aims to become a complete third-party logistics provider for quick commerce platforms. “Compared to pre-pandemic levels, our enterprise business with food and grocery aggregators has grown fourfold. Our focus will be on getting more aggregators or B2B players, since the demand from these partners is very high,” he adds.

    The platform’s recent funding was led by new investor Swiggy. While the two companies are collaborating to maximise the efficiency of their delivery fleet and lower delivery costs, with the new investment, Rapido hopes to increase brand awareness while also improving the ride-sharing customer and driver experiences.

    TVS Motor Company, which is also one of the investors, has entered into a strategic partnership with Rapido to help strengthen its EV (electric vehicle) segment. Harish Bijoor, founder, Harish Bijoor Consults, believes the future of logistics and delivery lies in intelligently going electric. “This move will be clutter-breaking for Rapido,” he says.

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