[Funding alert] Chalo raises $7M to digitise India’s public transport sector
Chalo, a Mumbai-based public transport technology startup, on Wednesday announced that it raised $7 million in its latest round of funding. This round includes Chalo’s existing investors Raine Ventures, the early-stage fund managed by The Raine Group, USA; Neeraj Arora (former Chief Business Officer, WhatsApp); and Amit Singhal (former Senior Vice President and Head of Google Search, Google).
The new funding round also saw participation from the family offices of Saket Burman of Dabur, and Tarun Sawhney of Triveni Group, among others. With this latest round, Chalo has raised a total of $30 million till date.
“In India, and in many developing countries, buses are non-discretionary. As soon as cities were unlocked, we saw millions of commuters returning to buses. Buses are not just the most affordable means to commute, they are fundamental for the cities’ economy and revival. Chalo digitises these buses and makes them safe and reliable - with live tracking and contactless digital payment,” said Mohit Dubey, CEO, Chalo.
“We are building a unique company to improve the experience in stage-carriage buses using a full tech stack. We are fortunate to have amazing investors who have partnered with us to build a better public transport solution for cities in India. We will soon be doing this in international cities as well,” Mohit added.
Today, Chalo is present in 30 cities and provides solutions for consumers as well as bus operators. The app offers live bus tracking, showing live arrival times of the buses and a live passenger indicator that shows how crowded the bus is in real-time. Bus passengers can also buy mobile tickets and bus passes on the Chalo app, or choose to scan QR codes in buses to pay digitally for their ticket.
For those who are not comfortable using their mobile phones for payments, Chalo said it offers the Chalo Card – an NFC touch-to-pay smartcard which can store a prepaid wallet and travel passes.
The funds raised will be utilised for expanding Chalo’s network into multiple cities as well as to increase the penetration of digital tickets technology in its existing cities. With the enhanced focus on safety and eliminating contact post-COVID-19, Chalo claims to have seen an increased demand for digital tickets, live bus tracking and live passenger indicator. The startup has also launched its Chalo Card in 12 cities across the country.
Edited by Kanishk Singh