The motorbike rental market in India is highly unorganised. Taking a crack at it are two youngsters Pranay Srivastava and Moksha Shrivastava (not related) who co-founded WheelStreet in 2014.
The company was a culmination of their experiences when it comes to bike renting: in college, Pranay would often rent out his bike to friends, gaining some experience in this area. Moksha, on the other hand, had a frustrating experience when she wanted to rent a scooter in New Delhi.
The duo then decided to create a platform for a user who needs a bike on rent – one that would attempt to eliminate the problems typically associated with dealing with the unorganised bike rental market: unruly dealers, lack of trust on the part of both dealer and customer, and uneven pricing.
“We thought let’s create a platform where there is a transparency between the user and the vendor. Where the user trusts a particular brand and we take care of all their problems,” says Moksha, the company’s co-founder and CMO.
The company did this by creating a marketplace: dealers could list their bikes on the platform from where customers could rent them. Riders could rent bikes for as little as a few hours to as much as a month. Prices start at an affordable Rs 11 per hour.
But as they found out, onboarding dealers was a challenge.
“Shops would have different pricing structures for the same bike models of the same age,” Moksha says. “Many were focused only on making a quick buck.”
WheelStreet focused on technology to help bring method to the madness that is the unorganised bike rental industry.
“We created an app for the vendors. They could see all their bookings, put their bikes on the platform, add new inventory, track their books,” adds Moksha. “We kept the vendor happy to keep the customer happy.”
Growth was quick to come by. WheelStreet expanded to over 30 cities, and claims to have had more than 10,000 bikes on its platform and over 30,000 riders in India.
The company raised funding to the tune of $120,000 from Y Combinator in 2017. It has also forayed abroad and is operational in 18 countries including faraway ones such as Argentina, New Zealand and Iceland, besides several South East Asian countries.
Late last year, it launched WheelStreet Go, India’s first dockless motorbike. A user can look up scooters in his area, go there and pick it up using a passcode and QR code from the app.
Moksha says that the company uses an Internet of Things (IoT) device that controls the locking-unlocking of the bike, helmet and fuel sensors etc. Soon, it may introduce a fingerprint scanner.
Bikes rented through the dockless model can be dropped at any designated location in the city.Through this offering, the company says it aims to make two-wheelers accessible at your doorstep by 2020.