We have earlier profiled car rental services, Olacabs and TaxiGuide and the latest to join the race is Gurgaon based GetMeCab, a startup from ex-MakeMyTrip employees, Udai Singh and Amit Lakhotia (founders are from IIM Ahmedabad, IIT Kanpur).
The online cab aggregation service business is in nascent stage in India and while this is a thin margin business, there is immense opportunity to grow the category and lead the market (i.e. be the redBus of cab booking category).
Like ecommerce, this is not a margin business and growth will drive valuation – expect some major funding in these business (i.e. when VCs get over their seven sins).
In terms of site, I believe each and every player is trying hard to do SEO (look at the footer), as there is an opportunity to get customers using organic route (instead of spending in adwords). I quickly compared the price of GetMeCab and TaxiGuide and overall, it seems that GetMeCab is doing a better job with pricing.
Overall, this segment will grow and consolidation among players will also happen – the fight is to grow pan-India very fast (i.e. at least be present in all metros) in order to build a brand and top-of-the-mind recall.
Here is a quick QnA with GetMeCab team:
QN. What’s your target segment? for e.g.: is it intercity/intra? Retail vs. Corporates?
Ans: We are focusing on intercity market segment right now. We believe that there are already a number of big intra-city(point to point) players who are serving the customer requirements. But there is no recognized player who is helping the customer in meeting their outstation requirements. Intercity market is a highly fragmented market with a lot of smaller players spread across India and convenience of booking, transparency in pricing, standardization of service levels during the service delivery are missing. There is clearly an opportunity to build a brand in this segment.
Having said that, we also offer intra-city inventory to our customers as the same suppliers do provide us inventory for these as well and for us there is not much incremental cost for serving the same. From supplier point of view it helps us in getting a greater pie of the supplier business which strengthens our relationships with our vendors.
As far as retail and corporate are concerned we are currently focusing on retail customers. Most of the corporate cab travel is focused on intra city usage. Also the inventory we are building in the initial stages is geared more towards outstation bookings and these are mostly leisure bookings. Corporate is a different game all together which involve lengthy credit cycles and a higher level of relationship management. We might target corporate later on when we have that kind of workforce and inventory to cater it.
QN. In general, this business is about offline partnerships and that’s where there is no pan-India brand yet. Most of the sites are ‘regional’ in nature, owing to operational overhead of this business. What’s your ambition/way forward?
A: Yes, offline partnerships play a big role here. It is a cumbersome process to select good quality operators and monitor the quality of service and keep the relationship profitable for both the parties. It gets tougher when you go with small players instead of going with large pan India players like Hertz, Avis etc.
We are already present In Delhi-NCR, Mumbai and Bangalore. We have been able to select good operators in these cities with our MakeMyTrip background and connections. We have done 300+ bookings in last month and we have not seen a single major glitch till now. We plan to have pan- India operations, but there is no hurry to cover all the cities immediately. Each city has it unique requirement and way of service. So we prefer soft launching in cities to understand the need, get to know the operators before doing marketing and investing heavily on customers and suppliers.
As per overheads are concerned, we have centralized most of the operations and will keep it centralized till the time we have a good understanding of the city, once we are convinced of the market will plan to have regional offices for better focus and faster growth.
QN. As a business, aren’t you competing with a phone call (to car operators number)? What’s your USP?
A: Yes we are competing with phone call operators. But given that we are an aggregator we provide additional values including single point access of multiple vendors, transparent pricing and a consistent service delivery across cities and service type (because of the process and tech which we enforce on our operators) which gives us an edge over a normal taxi operator. By offering standardized service levels, it is possible for us to capture customer’s trust and confidence. We have already seen quite a few repeat bookings from existing customer in last one month.
Do give GetMeCab a spin and share your comments.