Supporting auto-rickshaw sector entrepreneurship

Mobility and accessibility for urban India

The experience of daily transport in Mumbai / Bombay. Credits: Benoit Colin/EMBARQ.

Our team in India helps catalyze and implement entrepreneurship-based models in the auto-rickshaw sector to address urban mobility and accessibility, especially over shorter distances. Enabling such services to scale up through appropriate finance, regulatory, and institutional environments is critical in helping them achieve triple-bottom-line economic, social and environmental benefits. Our support includes:

  • Releasing rigorous and innovative research;
  • Facilitating partnerships with city governments and other stakeholders to help implement entrepreneur-driven organized fleet auto-rickshaw services.
  • Convening events with stakeholders such as entrepreneurs, investors and regulatory decision-makers towards catalyzing entrepreneurship initiatives in the auto-rickshaw, taxi and bicycling sectors.
  • Influencing policy at the state and national levels.

Our team established the Rickshaw Rising Challenge, India’s first platform to fund and support sustainable mobility businesses. Having received 46 applications from auto-rickshaw businesses in 13 cities, the Challenge awarded three startups with $100,000 in partner funding as well as 200+ hours of dedicated mentoring and provided media coverage to publicize the impact.

The winners of the Challenge are revolutionizing auto‐rickshaw services in Pune, Bangalore, and Chennai. They are providing better access to 300,000+ passengers/year, who now ride without haggling or being refused a ride. Furthermore, repeat customers have shown a renewed faith in auto‐rickshaws as a reliable last‐mile option after decades of widespread mistrust.

$320,000 in investment (expected to raise over $1 million by December 2015) has been leveraged, reflecting the success and scalability of these three business. On the heels of the Rickshaw Rising winners’ success, Ola Cabs and Uber launched auto‐rickshaws on their platform in 6 key cities: Pune, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, and Hyderabad, reportedly bring 90,000 auto‐rickshaws on their platforms and improving service for hundreds of thousands of daily users.

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