Self-drive car rental aggregator JustRide will get up to $50,000 (around Rs 3.3 million) in equity-free seed funding from Google as part of being selected for the internet giant’s startup accelerator programme, Google Launchpad.
Google Launchpad is specifically for mobile startups in India, Brazil and Indonesia.
The Launchpad accelerator provides a two-week mentorship programme, up to $50,000 in equity-free seed funding and a further $250,000 of assistance including access to Google’s products such as Maps and Adwords and financial assistance for office space.
The accelerator programme kicks off on January 18 in Silicon Valley with its first batch of companies.
JustRide is currently in the process of raising Series A round of funding which it plans to use to scale services to over 12 cities across India with a fleet of 9000 cars by the end of next year. The startup had raised an undisclosed amount in angel funding from Indian Angel Network’s Alok Mittal, Toppr.com’s Zishaan Hayaath, Palaash Ventures and other angel investors in August.
JustRide, which is run by AS JustRide Tours and Travels Pvt Ltd, was co-founded last year by Ashwarya Pratap Singh, Hemant Sah, Vasant Verma, Abhishek Mahajan, and Amit Sahu, all alumni of IIT-Bombay and NIT Allahabad.
Through its web and mobile based service network, JustRide links and facilitates car renting transactions between vendors and consumers. Unlike existing market players, JustRide is not the proprietor of the vehicles it rents out. It leases vehicles from vendors and individuals in return for a minimum guarantee value. The tie-up is valid for a period of six months, after which the vendor is free to sell the vehicle.
JustRide cars are fitted with the company’s flagship technology – smart vehicle technology (SVT) – which taps into a vehicle’s electronic system and provides a real time access to the location and performance parameters of the vehicle.
“Our products are focused at creating options which would be cheaper than purchasing a car. Our operational model is eight times more efficient than that of existing companies, allowing a good deal of space to scale,” claimed Ashwarya Singh, CEO of JustRide.
At present, it claims to have a fleet of 300 cars and operates in Bangalore, Pune, Noida and Gurgaon.
“We’re serving roughly 200 customers on a daily basis and have maintained 100 per cent occupancy on weekends for the past several months. We’ve managed to penetrate the leisure market successfully,” said Vasant Verma, COO and marketing head at JustRide.
Google is accepting applications for the second batch, which will begin in the second half of 2016.