How This EV Indian Start-Up Is Easing Traffic Congestion And Improving Air Quality In The $28 Billion Market Opportunity

In an exclusive interaction with Marketing In Asia, Co-Founders of Oye! Rickshaw shares its growth story.

How This EV Indian Start-Up Is Easing Traffic Congestion And Improving Air Quality In The $28 Billion Market Opportunity

Oye! Rickshaw: How It All Started

India is a vast country where many people have limited income. Their access to cheap, reliable and comfortable rides remains a challenge. India is also known for terrible traffic congestion, negligible parking space and poor air quality. Enter Oye! Rickshaw, is an electronic vehicle-based mobility company with an emphasis on first and last-mile commute. 

Founded in January 2017 by Mohit Sharma and Akashdeep Singh, the origin of their story goes back to 2015 when after working for 2 years at Hero groups, Mohit Sharma started Jangid Motors, an electric rickshaw design, manufacturing, and distribution start-up. The company achieved success within a short while. However, in order to expand its hold in the market, Mohit realised that he needed to re-think his market strategy and teamed up with Akashdeep to start the company.

India saw a significant increase in e-rickshaws by 2017, but the services rendered were not streamlined. With the increased reach of the metro and other forms of public transport, last and first-mile connectivity remained a challenge and proved costly and Oye! Felt that they could enter the market with cheap, comfortable shared rides as compared to other forms of transportation. As of today, Oye! Rickshaw is one of the largest and fastest-growing EV mobility players in India.

How Oye! Rickshaw Is Solving India’s Mobility Access Problem

“Many auto companies have emerged in the market supporting EV, however, a holistic approach is missing in the product and services that are being offered. We, at Oye! Rickshaw, have been actively understanding every change and the challenges on a real-time basis. We started from the rideshare model, later developed a delivery service system and today are strengthening the energy requirements. Our growth plan has seen a significant upward shift resulting not only in company growth but also in creating a successful 360-degree solution for the EV auto industry. We look forward to keeping enhancing the existing models with making additions in future whenever we feel there is a need” says Akashdeep Singh, Co-Founder, Oye! Rickshaw

Oye! Rickshaw targets public transport commuters and e-rickshaws and brings them to one platform. The aim of the platform is to provide transparent and quick fulfilment for last and first-mile commuters. More than 2.5 million rides have been transacted on Oye! Rickshaw in the last 1 year. With 10,000+ e-rickshaws, the company is operating in 7 cities and also enables its drivers to do deliveries on their e-rickshaws and to avail of battery swapping services.

The company is focused on being an affordable and convenient mode of transportation for the Indian masses and strives to give its riders seamless, easy rides. Its shared service makes Oye! Rickshaw the most reasonably priced form of transformation. They solve three prominent issues; affordability and traffic congestion and air quality. Oye! Rickshaw is for everyone who wants to leave less carbon footprint. 

There are numerous players in the EV mobility market with about 1.5 million e-rickshaws plying on Indian roads. However, Oye! Rickshaw is the only company that has an entire ecosystem for EV mobility and they’re the only company aggregating the e-rickshaws. They take a holistic approach to do business and filling gaps for the driver and rider community. 

Their main USP is their ability to generate employment for the driver community and increase their earnings. They have always intended to leave a positive impact on the driver community. Additionally, the drivers do deliveries of products which generates more income for them. Easy accessibility, technology that is user-friendly and convenient and pocket-friendly charges are what make Oye! Rickshaw is a clean and conscious-driven company. 

Market Placement And Scalability Model

The EV mobility market according to the company will reach $ 28Bn by 2025. The market break-up is $ 17.2 Bn for the ride, $6.3 Bn for delivery, and $4.2 Bn for Battery swapping. Currently, they are scaling up their ride and delivery lines of business and are concentrating on further scaling up the third business offering of the company- battery swapping service to 600+ stations by the end of 2022. They’ve already established over 100+ charging stations and have completed around 5 million swap km.


Take A Look At Oye! Rickshaw’s Business Insights

Oye! Rickshaw’s vehicle of choice is an electric rickshaw, which is a 3-wheeled compact electric vehicle with 4 passengers + 1 driver seating. It can be easily navigated in traffic and narrow streets. It is fully electric, making it sustainable. This is best suited for hyperlocal B2C, B2B & B2B2C businesses.

Comfortable ride, quickest ride and minimum bare is made possible by using predictive analytics to better calibrate supply and demand for enhanced customer service. The company’s chief priority has always been their drivers and increasing their income through the different channels of business, ride and delivery; and reducing their operating cost by providing energy solutions. Because of these driver-friendly business processes, their driver-partners thrive. 

Influencer network-based scaling is followed to penetrate deeper into hyperlocal markets, using this model we are leveraging connections and referrals to maximize our supply base. 

Today with 10,000+ e-rickshaws, the Delhi-based micro-mobility company offers its services in 7 cities of Delhi NCR, UP, Haryana and Kanpur and caters to the primary audience as the common citizens of India who are regular commuters of first & last mile connectivity network. The company also focuses on the driver community of the e-rickshaws along with the e-commerce corporates for their delivery model.

Also read: How This $ 500,000 Start-Up Is Transforming The Online Shopping Experience With Its LIVE Video Commerce Strategy - Swirl

What Revenue Model Does Oye! Rickshaw Rely On?

“From being a merely mobility-as-a-service player to creating an organised and sustainable ecosystem, our vision encapsulates a robust comprehensive and integrated approach for the EV market. Over these 5 years, we have built services for the rider community, driver-partners and designed a system for the energy needs of the e-rickshaws. -rickshaws have emerged as a winning transition to the electric mobility race in India over the last few years. We have successfully completed 6 million rides and deliveries in 2021 alone. Through our rideshare and delivery model, we have directly impacted in reducing 1.5 million tons of GHG emissions by the end of 2021. With our forward-looking approach, we are focused to work towards building a bigger, better and sustainable business that has a multiplier effect on society and the environment.” Mohit Sharma, Co-Founder, Oye! Rickshaw.

More people are looking for a cost-efficient and carbon-neutral way to commute. Because e-rickshaws provide short-distance rides and delivery at a far lesser price than their gasoline counterparts, they become the vehicle of choice.

The company aims to ramp up the incomes of drivers by helping them utilise their assets and converting most deliveries in the 0-5 km range to electric. To reduce driver-partners costs, Oye! Rickshaw has launched its energy services, offering driver-partners economical battery swaps to avoid the 7-8 hours of charging downtime. It also aims to set up more than 600 battery charging stations by end-2022. 

Early this year, the company launched its services in Kanpur and has been working towards expanding to 25 cities this year in the upcoming months, starting with Jaipur, Lucknow, and Meerut among others. With an aggressive geographical expansion plan intact, the company is aiming to complete 60 million rides and deliveries in the year 2022. Until now they have completed 3.5 million deliveries to the direct customers of Flipkart, Udaan, Grofers, Jiomart etc. in 2021. 

Oye! Rickshaw’s third business offering - battery swapping plans to scale to 600+ stations by end of 2022. The year 2021 witnessed the startup having established over 100+ stations as of today for 1000+ driver-partners and completed 5 million swap KMs. Their customer base has increased from 25% to 32% last year. The brand aims to achieve the annual revenue run rate target of Rs 4500 million by the end of 2022 and grow its overall revenues by 350% year-on-year in FY23.  

Where Does The Competition Stand?

The company does not have any direct competitors as they are the only technology aggregators to the e-rickshaw drivers and consumers. While the market is big and unaddressed, there is scope for strengthening the ecosystem. Any brand that is related to mobility or delivery service space can be considered a competitor.

Future of Oye! Rickshaw

The company has raised $12 Mn in its Series A funding, with investments from Matrix Partners, Chiratae Ventures, Angel investors, hero family and Xiaomi. 

With 10,000+ e-rickshaws, the Delhi-based micro-mobility company has successfully completed 2.5 million rides with the help of approx 10k driving partners onboard in 2021. The brand is also working to expand services in 25+ cities. They are looking to strengthen the teams across verticals by increasing the hiring in the said number of cities. The company founded by Mohit Sharma and Akashdeep Singh in 2017 has also closed approx 3.5 million the direct customers of Flipkart, Bigbasket, Grofers, Jio Mart etc. in 2021. They are also enabling its delivery business to grow 5X by taking its deliveries from the current approx 3.5 million to 20 million by the end of 2022. The revenue generated from these partners amounts to 30-40% of Oye!’s total delivery business. Further to the recent expansion plans announced by Oye! Rickshaw in 25+ cities in 2022, the brand aims to achieve 20 mn deliveries. Setting up 600+ battery charging stations across the cities will also be a part of the expansion by Oye! Rickshaw.

Given the pace of urban transformation, it is essential that urban India rises to the challenge of managing the twin problems of traffic congestion and concerning air quality. The accelerating urbanisation has multiple social implications as well. While rising vehicle ownership meets the ambitions of the expanding middle-class societies, it has been accompanied by increased traffic issues in the cities, gradual conversion of community spaces to parking areas, and rising pollution due to vehicles. The face of urban transportation will need to change drastically. It will change from personal vehicles to comfortable and affordable mass transit options, shared mobility services and electric vehicles. It is also believed that multimodal transportation solutions will become available soon to allow users the option of seamlessly integrating services like public transportation and ride-sharing, instead of having to choose one over the other. 

Know The Team At Oye! Rickshaw

Mohit Sharma 

Mohit Sharma is a 32 yrs old IIT- Delhi graduate with in-depth work experience in Hero MotoCorp. in the new product development dept. His business acumen lies in business, strategy, investor relations, networking and product. Born and brought up in Delhi, he enjoyed building & programming robots and mini vehicles all his life. He considers himself a tech and science enthusiast and someone who has always been interested in electric mobility. Having worked in the auto industry, he identified a gap in the market at the right time and addressed it. The timing was ripe when he looked at this industry as a business opportunity. 

The size of the market is a $30B dollar industry where nearly 1.5 million e-rickshaws are present and quite a significant number of vehicles still need to be aggregated and batteries for regular activity. Plus, there are nearly 120M daily commuters who require access to pocket-friendly yet convenient and safe public transportation. The ongoing environmental crisis with growing carbon emission issues needed addressing. Also, deliveries through the company are worth almost $60M. Any company that solves a crucial problem is bound to succeed and that is what Oye! Rickshaw has accomplished. 


Akashdeep Singh

Akashdeep Singh is 33 years old and a firm believer of mobility solutions for the masses. He helped build Oye! Rickshaw into a completely e-mobility solution for the “real Bharat”. Having served as a Chief Strategy Officer at Jangid Motors, a Shri Ram AutoTech Pvt. Ltd. backed automotive start-up, Akashdeep’s specialisation encompasses product, technology, design and data. Prior to working with Jangid Motors, he worked at OYO ROOMS and C.K Birla Group. Working towards Oye! Rickshaw gave him the opportunity to work closely with the driver-partners and learn more about the market. This instilled in him a passion for not just solving practical problems but to be a change agent by bringing change to the existing market scenario. He has always been passionate about ideating a solution that has a multiplier effect on the economy.