redBus.in, a bus-ticketing site owned by Pilani Soft Labs Pvt Ltd, has announced that it sold more than one crore bus seats in India. The Bangalore-based company claims that it is the first online venture in the country to cross the landmark, making redBus.in one of the top transacted sites. According to redBus, it has a registered customer base of over two million and the company has grown at an average rate of 250 per cent year on year for the past five years.
Phanindra Sama, founder and CEO of redBus, said, “We are the only website which rates buses on their punctuality and staff behaviour, so that customers can make informed decisions when buying tickets. That is why we enjoy a loyal customer base and happen to be the only one to have sold over one crore bus seats.
“Also, it’s the network effect in play here where a happy customer brings us more customers. We haven’t done any significant marketing for customer acquisition and most of our new customers come to us based on the recommendations of friends and family,” he added.
The bus travel market in India is more than Rs 12,000 crore annually and redBus claims that bus travel across the country has been growing at 25 per cent every year. It is because for several routes like Bangalore-Chennai and Ahmedabad-Mumbai, air travel takes as much time as bus travel, considering the entire procedures from check-in to arrival and finally, luggage collection. Also, the introduction of luxury buses (like Volvo and Mercedes) has added to the mix.
redBus has also announced a tie-up with Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation (RSRTC) for selling tickets. This will enable the company to offer a more comprehensive choice to its customers for booking bus tickets in the northern region as state road transport often accounts for majority of the bus travel in that area. Earlier this year, the company had announced a similar tie-up with Goa State Road Transport.
Pilani Soft Labs was set up by Sama, Charan Padmaraju and Sudhakar Pasupunuri back in 2006. redBus offers online ticket-booking services through its website or over the phone and tickets can be home-delivered as well. In 2007, the company raised $1 million in angel funding from Seedfund, an early-stage investor, which was followed by an undisclosed second round from Inventus Capital Partners and Seedfund in July 2009. Last May, it raised $6.5 million from Helion Venture Partners, Inventus Capital Partners and Seedfund in its Series C funding.
The company currently employs 400 people in 18 offices and facilitates ticket booking for over 1.8 lakh bus routes all over India – run by more than 700 bus operators. Earlier this year, it had launched its ticketing service on the mobile, helping travellers access bus schedules, fares and seat layouts on their handsets besides ticket booking. The company did Rs 300 crore in revenues for year ending March 31, 2012.
(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)