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Chalo secures $40 million Series C funding led by Lightrock India and Filter Capital

The startup plans to use the funds raised to invest further in technology, deepen its footprint in India and expand to international markets.

October 05, 2021 / 04:52 PM IST
Chalo Founders (L-R): Vinayak Bhavnani, Priya Singh, Mohit Dubey, Dhruv Chopra

Chalo Founders (L-R): Vinayak Bhavnani, Priya Singh, Mohit Dubey, Dhruv Chopra

Chalo, a public transport technology firm, has raised $40 million in Series C funding led by Lightrock India and Filter Capital.

The round also saw participation from existing investors WaterBridge Ventures, Raine Venture Partners, former WhatsApp chief business officer Neeraj Arora and former Google SVP Amit Singhal.

The startup plans to use the funds raised to invest further in technology, deepen its footprint in India and expand to international markets. About $10 million of the proceeds will also be used to buy back employee stock options (ESOPs) to "reward current and former employees as well as to enable early angel investors to monetise", Chalo said in a statement.

Founded in 2014 by Mohit Dubey, Vinayak Bhavnani, Priya Singh, and Dhruv Chopra, Chalo helps bus operators to digitise bus operations and offer a technology-led digital bus experience. It deploys GPS devices for live tracking and electronic ticketing devices to facilitate mobile and card payments in buses.

Passengers can see the arrival time of buses, see how crowded it is 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.

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"At Chalo, we deploy technology that significantly improves the bus experience, and thereby increases ridership. We are today one of India’s largest mobility companies, with 20 million happy rides each month. We are glad to find partners like Lightrock and Filter Capital who share our vision of creating a positive impact on society and the environment, and look forward to the next leg of our journey with them on-board the Chalo Bus" said Dubey.

The Navi Mumbai-based startup claims to have 15,000 buses live on its platform and a presence in 31 cities across Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, and others.

"Bus mobility in India is a $35 billion market opportunity. Unfortunately, it has not seen any tech disruption or meaningful service improvements. Chalo offers a full-stack solution for passengers, fragmented private bus operators and municipalities to improve this essential citizen service for over 350 million Indians" said Manish Kheterpal, Partner, WaterBridge Ventures.

Vaidhehi Ravindran, Partner, Lightrock added "Chalo has emerged as a clear winner post-COVID by addressing the under‑served public transport segment. This positions them to be the de-facto mobility operating system of the country. Public transport is the backbone to build a larger mobility platform addressing mobility needs at scale."
Moneycontrol News
first published: Oct 5, 2021 04:50 pm
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