Chalo on March 28 announced the acquisition of two-wheeler rental startup Vogo as the public transport tech company looks to boost bus services by powering first and last mile rides. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
This is Chalo's second acquisition in the past six months after Amazon-backed bus service provider Shuttl’s business in October last year. In the same month, Chalo had raised $40 million in Series C funding led by Lightrock India and Filter Capital, taking its total funding to $62 million.
“Now we will be able to offer a convenient and cost-effective option for bus passengers to travel to and from bus stops, solving the door-to-door daily commute. This will increase bus ridership and serve our core purpose of making travel more convenient and reliable for all," said Chalo co-founder Vinayak Bhavnani.
Started in 2016 by Anand Ayyadurai and Padmanabhan Balakrishnan, Vogo was present in Hyderabad and Bengaluru fulfilling about 50,000 rides daily before COVID-19 struck severely impacting the shared mobility sector. It counts Lightrock, Kalaari, Matrix Partners, Ola, and Stellaris Venture Partners among its investors.
As part of this acquisition, the Bengaluru-based startup said it is switching to electric vehicles across its fleet and will expand beyond two-wheelers to other types of electric vehicles.
Founders Ayyadurai and Balakrishnan and the rest of the Vogo team will join Chalo, while Vogo will continue under the same brand name. Vogo CEO Ayyadurai will step into a new leadership role in Chalo group while Balakrishnan, who was serving as Vogo's chief operating officer, will take over as its chief executive officer.
The startup is also elevating two of its executives - Abhimanyu Goyal, who was working as Vogo's vice president of engineering, to chief technology officer, and Sharath Parameswaran, who was serving as vice president of operations and growth, to chief business officer.
Chalo currently has a presence in 37 cities across 13 Indian regions including Maharashtra, Delhi-NCR, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Assam.
It helps bus operators to digitise. The startup deploys GPS devices for live tracking and electronic ticketing devices to facilitate mobile and card payments in buses. Chalo claims to offer live tracking of over 15,000 buses on its platform.
Passengers can see the arrival time of buses, how crowded they are and buy a ticket or a bus pass through the Chalo app. It also offers a contactless card for passengers to enable digital bus tickets for those who are not comfortable using their smartphones for payments.