Hyderabad based cab-aggregator startup Vihik Cabs is gearing up to give serious competition to Uber and Ola in Indian metros. Husband and wife duo – Chaitanya Duddu and Sameera Duddu, launched Vihik Cabs in T-Hub Hyderabad in June 2016. The startup has been selected into Facebook Startup Program in September 2017 for its Facebook chatbot development. It also got introduced into Startup Leadership Program 2018.
What is the idea behind your startup? What is unique about your Startup? What lead to its formation?
Around 80% of Indians still book outstation cabs by calling their friend to find contact number of a driver or through a travel agent, even though we have cab aggregators who offer moderate pricing, driver rating and vehicle safety. We have developed an app and chatbot where we display vehicle details, driver rating and allow customers to negotiate the trip price with drivers, and also give driver the option to change price per km in real time.
Please tell us about the founders and core team members.
What is the problem you are trying to solve? How are you trying to solve the problem? Can you share with us any insights that led you to believe that this is a big enough problem and your startup can solve the problem?
We started with the idea of trying to solve the problem of finding outstation cab drivers/travel agents. Even though we have cab aggregators, people still reach out to travel agents and cab drivers to book outstation cabs as they try to avoid surge pricing, look for drivers with good rating and also vehicle safety. We did some research by interacting with around 300 customers and 100 cab drivers and found that this is a big problem to solve as this is 11 billion dollar market for outstation cab booking. We tried to solve the problem by developing Android, iOS and Facebook chatbot. So far we have acquired around 20,000 customers.
What are the major challenges you faced while launching the startup? What is the success story of your startup in your own words?
We have faced challenges everywhere, from starting up till building traction. The first challenge was when we tried to explain about our app to the cab drivers. We were able to create a video and show them how to use the application.
The second challenge was in building the right team and to run in learn startup concept using build-measure-learn feedback process. It took us more than 3 months to build the right team and find the co-founders. I would define success as finding the right team who can walk with you in your idea implementation.
How has been the journey so far? How tough has been the competition?
We started the actual application development in Nov 2016 and built Android, iOS and chatbot. We successfully launched the application by June 2016. Initially we faced lot of issues in the app but slowly we fixed them and started getting traction with 50% MOM growth in sign ups and 50% MOM revenue.
We have competition from different aggregators like Uber, Ola, Meru, Savari, Carzonrent. But we believe our business model has not been implemented by any so far and believe that existing cab aggregators can’t even move to our business model. Because they can’t allow cab drivers to change price per km and customers to bid the trip price with N number of drivers on tap of a button.
What is the big picture of your startup? Will it lead to something bigger? If so, how?
We believe that we will become a bigger player in outstation cabs in the next 2 years. Imagine you need an outstation cab and find all the details of vehicle and driver upfront and can negotiate trip price with drivers. People are already loving our app and we see around 2000 bid trips in both outstation and in city.
Where do you want to see your startup 2 years from now?
We want to become a leader in outstation cabs segment and also be a big player in transportation chatbots.
“We have competition from different aggregators like Uber, Ola, Meru, Savari, Carzonrent. But we believe our business model has not been implemented by any so far and believe that existing cab aggregators can’t even move to our business model. Because they can’t allow cab drivers to change price per km and customers to bid the trip price with N number of drivers on tap of a button.”
What is your plan or strategy to sustain in the long run?
We have created a distributed remote lean startup team who can work from anywhere in the world similar to Buffer, WordPress and Github. We burn less money on development and burn more money on sales.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I write down my tasks in Asana and complete one task at one time and then and move to another task. I believe managing your tasks effectively make you more productive as an entrepreneur.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I write down the goals what needs to be achieved every month and work towards that every day. I would recommend young entrepreneurs to write their five year future plan ahead and start working towards the plan.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
We initially did marketing on Facebook but didn’t use Instagram much. Later we got to know some influencers in Instagram and used them to market our business and app. Influencer marketing has helped us a lot to grow our business till now.
Which online tools/ services/ apps do you use the most and would like to recommend as well to other startup entrepreneurs?
We use AWS and Java for development, Asana for managing work, LinkedIn for connecting with business people. I would recommend Asana to to other startup entrepreneurs as well to manage their tasks effectively.
Any other information about your startup that you would like to share with us.
We got selected into Facebook Startup Program in September 2017 for our Facebook Chatbot development and also got introduced to Startup Leadership Program 2018. We will be launching a business chatbot and also entering into self drive with park and rent program by April 2018.
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