Living just a few kilometres away from a metro station or a bus depot is always a boon. It gives such joy, not having to shove your car into every space that opens up in a traffic jam or not having to dissolve into incoherent road rage. The bane, however, is that journey from home to the public transport hub. The shared auto stand is too far to walk to, and Ola or Uber booking makes no sense for just a one or two kilometre ride. You could take your vehicle, but the pain of finding a parking spot! Now, what if you could just hop on to a bicycle or a two-wheeler, waiting for you at a lot in your neighbourhood? It’s convenient and you get to brag about going green.
That’s the solution Amit Gupta began working on, when he decided to not retire by 40. He was already a successful entrepreneur at 30 for founding InMobi in 2007, the mobile-based advertising platform, and retirement would have been easy but boring. He was living in Bengaluru, a city known for its infamous traffic. So, in 2016, the IIT Kanpur-grad brought together fellow alumni RK Misra and Naveen Dachuri along with childhood friend Hemant Gupta to put short-commute woes to rest. Thus, Yulu was born.
Although ‘last-mile mobility’ is a trending subject globally, few companies in India have seen much success. Out of all the players in the field, Yulu boasts the largest electric vehicle (EV) fleet. Ventures such as Bengaluru-based Bounce and Rapido are well-known names in their home ground, while Mobycy is yet to make waves and Zoomcar has temporarily phased out PEDL — its bike-sharing service.
All of these are accessed through a smartphone app. Once you spot an available bike through Yulu’s app, you switch on your Bluetooth and scan the barcode on the bike. The IoT-enabled bikes are unlocked once paired to your smartphone, and you’re good to go. Through it all, make sure you have some cash loaded on the app.
The bike-sharing service offers two types of vehicles right now. One is the Miracle, the electric scooter that doesn’t even require a licence t