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October - 2016 - Special issue > Startup of the Year 2016 - Consumer Technology

Zuver India: Making Journeys Comfortable & Cost-Effective

si Team
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
si Team
Thanks to the income surge and increasingly consumer-friendly loan schemes, nowadays even middle class Indians can afford their own cars. But hiring a driver for that car is another story, especially in metros, where full time drivers demand Rs.15-18k per month. Despite the fact that most of their time will go ideal, having a driver has become a necessity rather than a luxury. Imagine how much a corporate user (who typically commutes to and fro from a place) can save if the driver can be paid only when he was utilized. Zuver India, an on-demand driver aggregator, enables its customers to minimize the cost tremendously by eliminating this idle time with its unprecedented by-minute pricing model. Wielding the power of technology, the company facilitates customers to book a driver, track & communicate with him and finally pay the bills using its intelligible mobile app.

While the app keeps track of the drive details, Zuver's rigorously trained sophisticated captains (as Zuver fondly refers its drivers) will drive the customers around in the comfort of their own cars. Customers can leverage the monthly subscription based model to further cut the cost. The company also offers Outstation Services (one way as well as round trip) to facilitate customers to relish their journey, without the hassle of losing sleep over the long drive. Zuver renders Valet Service for events, which allows customers to track their cars and get picked up from valet without getting disturbed. "Unlike other aggregators, there is no bullying for higher payouts. For us, the main opportunity lies in the fact that we need to mobilize our supply in a certain way so that customers will feel obligated not only from a commendatory perspective but also from the enterprise & belonging perspective," remarks Sidhanth Mally, Co-Founder, Zuver India.

Since its captains are the face of its brand, the company stringently filters them with a week-long on-boarding process followed by a document verification process through a private security agency along with police verification. Treating it as a white collar profession, Zuver ticks the basic checklist by ensuring that they have a minimum of five years of experience, state license and the ability to drive both manual & automatic cars, after which it shortlists the candidates with a systematic interview. Understanding how irritating it can be when the drivers fritter away time due to the lack of knowledge regarding locations, the company also conducts a location sense test, in which they must get 70 percent to pass. Once they get the green signal, the captains are brought in to get trained on the app as well as to improve their soft skills to teach them how to behave during the trips.

Wheeling through the Road Blocks

Bitten by the entrepreneurial bug, Sidhanth Mally and Sovin Hegde were researching the need of the hour that is also scalable, so they can make a real impact by solving a real world problem at large. And transport popped up at the top of their list. "We targeted to disrupt a segment by simplifying something that was done the old fashioned way, by not only making it cost effective but also time efficient," explains Sidhanth. Started building the prototype in November 2015, the duo burnt the midnight oil and successfully accomplished the beta testing in March with a full-fledged product along with 25 drivers onboard. Being first generation entrepreneurs, they had to endure the typical startup challenges such as attracting quality talent and mobilization of funds, during their initial bootstrapped days. However, they vanished away on May with the initial seed round of Rs.1.2 crores Zuver secured from Shruth & Smith Group (who also guides the company in building a technology road map) and Hermes Group (who helps Zuver to decrease operation cost & increase efficiency).

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