Startup Juice | Interview with Founder, CommuteEasy

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If you are from/or have visited Bangalore, you must be aware of the terrific traffic situation. And that leaves you with two options –

  1. Crib/blame the entire world [politicians/IT companies.. and even your neighbhour] and in the end, don’t do anything about it,
  2. Take an initiative and bring in the needed transformation.

Most of us choose the first option, while here is one cool dude,Vipul Kasera who had the guts to explore the second option, .
Here is our interview with Vipul kasera, founder of CommuteEasy, the sms based car-pooling service.

Tell us about Commuteeasy. How it started? Who are the founders?
Commuteeasy was born out of a desperation for better traffic management/less congestion in Bangalore. Many of us travel alone in our car and if we follow ‘We 4, ours 1’ [CE’s punchline!] mantra, we will see lesser cars [and more greenery] on the road:)

How easy/difficult was it to convince people to use a system like this? What were the typical challenges you faced vis-a-vis customer adoption?
It wasn’t too difficult for people to adopt to such a system in Bangalore. Given the traffic congestion in Bangalore, lot of us feel the need for a car pooling system.

One of the main concerns in adoption was verifying the credentials of other poolers. We urge users to share their Orkut profile, Email ID, phone number so that others can checkout their profile before tagging along. We also ask people to exchange their address proofs too. Typically people have been quite sensible and that has really helped in a successful adoption.

Could you share few of customer usages? Numbers?
The openness of Bangaloreans to pooling has been quite remarkable.Within a few months, the number of registered users has gone up to about 2900! and since its a social initiative CommuteEasy has landed up with more than useful media coverage.We have also launched CE in Pune.

Please tell us more on CE’s funding part.
Well, CE is currently funded by my dad and me 🙂 To be very honest, CE isn’t a capital intensive business;but requires investment more in terms of time. But for future expansion, we might look for funding/partners.

What’s your future plans? Partnerships?
We are trying to partner with few big IT corporate houses, so that their employees can car pool internally via an internal carpooling website which will cater to the organisation’s specific requirements.
Also, we are planning to work with Bangalore Traffic police to promote commuteeasy in Bangalore and of course, we plan to expand this service in other cities.
For mobile-based sms service, we have partnered with another startup called ‘Active Mobs’.

We are currently looking for partners/sponsors for commuteeasy stickers/t-shirts.

Could you share the relationship with Thoughtworks?
Well, I work for Thoughtworks and the company has been very helpful in supporting me thru’ this entire project.

Any plans to startup on your own?
Maybe sometime down the line if things go really well. But I really like ThoughtWorks. So wouldnt be leaving here in a hurry 🙂

Technorati tags: CommuteEasy

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