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Former Jabong exec co-floats on-demand chauffeur provider Driverskart

Driverskart founders Lakshmi Potluri, Saksham Grover and Vinit Srivastava

Driverskart founders Lakshmi Potluri, Saksham Grover and Vinit Srivastava

Former Jabong executive Lakshmi Potluri has joined hands with serial entrepreneur Vinit Srivastava to launch a mobile marketplace that connects chauffeurs with car owners.

Christened Driverskart, the startup enables users to hire drivers on an hourly, weekly or monthly basis.

“With Driverskart, you can hire a driver for as low as the price of a cup of coffee in a café. We feel there is an opportunity to professionalise and organise the entire call driver services market,” Srivastava told Techcircle.in.

Saksham Grover, who worked with Cognizant Technology Services earlier, is the third co-founder of Driverskart.

Driverskart has a fleet of 75 drivers and claims its chauffeurs facilitate 80-100 trips a day in Chennai where it is operating currently.

It plans to expand its operations to eight more cities within 12 months, Srivastava said.

Driverskart, run by Get Driven Technologies Pvt Ltd, launched operations in September. It aggregates drivers and agencies on its marketplace after verifying the antecedents of the drivers and training them.

Business model
For customers who wish to hire chauffeurs on an hourly basis, the startup charges Rs 99 for the first hour of engagement. Subsequently, it charges Re1/min.

Customers can book drivers on the website as well as on the app.

The startup also has a subscription model which starts at Rs 799 for a 10-hour stretch. With the subscription package, Driverskart is targeting daily commuters. For instance, a customer signing up for a 10-hour package can avail the service for 2 hours every day which includes pick-up and drop for five days a week.

Driving on Indian roads can be challenging and time consuming. It takes an average of 66.18 minutes to reach a destination in Mumbai, 60.82 minutes in Pune and 58 minutes in Kolkata, as per global road statistics provider Nimeo. In other words, an average car owner spends over an hour behind the wheel every day.

Driverskart would compete with Bangalore-based DriveU, Mumbai-headquartered Zimmber and Delhi-based Driver Bulao among other players.

Rejuvenate Solutions Pvt Ltd, the company behind on-demand home services platform Zimmber had raised just under $2 million (around Rs 12 crore) in pre-Series A funding round from a bunch of investors in July.

Most of Driverskart’s competitors are local on-call operators. In India, the market for temporary driver services is valued at $8 billion, according to Driverskart. A lion’s share of this market is unorganised and fragmented.

Driverskart is currently bootstrapped; it is in talks with angel investors to raise the first round of external funding.

Potluri, an alumnus of The University of Texas at El Paso, was one of Rocket Internet incubated Jabong’s ‘co-founders’. Rocket Internet’s core model is to replicate successful global internet businesses in emerging markets outside China with rigorous marketing. It brings in industry executives, gives them stakes in its companies and designates them as co-founder/founder/CEO. Thus, Jabong may not have been the brainchild of Potluri and other so-called co-founders but they were designated that way. More recently, Potluri was country director of Shopify.

An alumnus of IIM Calcutta, Srivastava co-founded pre-school chain Sebille Educations Pvt Ltd in 2008. He is also the co-founder of Nawaab Sheikh, a food and beverages venture that runs a franchisee of Biryani eateries in Chennai. Before taking the entrepreneurial plunge, Srivastava worked with Apollo Health Street Ltd and global outsourcing company Teleperformance.

Grover is an alumnus of IIT Mandi. Most recently, he worked at Cognizant Technology Solutions.

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