The story of DriveU, the on-demand driver service platform

DriveU is an online platform which provides professional driver 24/7. Here's everything you need to know about this startup.

What is DriveU?

We all love going on long drives with our family and friends, don’t we? But road trips are not such an enjoyable experience for that one person who has to drive the whole way. You won’t have the chance to appreciate an outing after you have been driving for three hours in a row. Some families have a permanent driver with them who is available 24/7. However, for most Indian families, it is more feasible to hire a driver according to their needs. DriveU is here for the rescue by providing professional car drivers to make your journeys relaxing and pleasant. With their outstanding service, you don’t have to worry about driving while going on long rides.

DriveU (1) is an on-demand driver services platform where you can hire car drivers for local and outstation trips. It is a lot like having a permanent driver who is available 24/7 without having to give a salary every month. You can get a driver from DriveU at just a tap of a button. After you enter your location and time, the app will calculate your estimated fee and allocate a driver to you. You can keep track of your driver while he’s on his way to your place. Since you can see their real-time location, you do not have to go through the hassle of calling and texting to see where they have reached. Once they arrive, all you need to do is verify and hand over the keys. 

You can take rest in your vehicle while the DriveU driver escorts you to any place you need. The customers can fully trust them for complete safety as they are trained professionals. They follow every mandatory guideline to ensure the safety of you and your family. The fares start at 89 rupees per hour, and you can make the payment at the end of the ride. The drivers are also insured to offer safety from any unwanted mishaps. You can also buy accident insurance at just 10 rupees every trip.


The beginning of DriveU


The founders of DriveU are Ashok Shastry, Rahm Shastry and Amulmeet Chadha. Ramprasad “Rahm” Shastry is the Chief Executive Officer of DriveU and formulates the business strategy. He has always been an ardent engineer and an active angel investor at many firms. He made one of the first investments in TaxiForSure. It was after this company was sold to Ola for 200 million dollars, that his son Ashok Shastry came up with the idea of DriveU. Ashok Shastry is currently the Chief Operating Officer and takes care of the company’s marketing and undertakings. Before co-founding DriveU, he was a member of the marketing team at TaxiForSure. 

The father-son duo first started DriveU as a platform that would provide valet services for the customers according to their demand. They put together a team of valet drivers who would park the car for the customers. However, this business was limited to the parking sector and was not addressing a bigger crowd. After realising the more robust possibilities of driver service, the founders expanded to a bigger market. 

The third founder of DriveU is Amulmeet Singh Chadha, who is currently the Chief Procurement Officer. Before joining DriveU, he had worked at companies like Zipdial and Freecharge. He has also held important positions in product management at RedBus. After a casual discussion with Ashok, Amulmeet decided to become a part of DriveU. Other team members are Ashok Raavi who leads the technology team and Vishal Kumar, an entrepreneur with exceptional talent in business strategies. 


Early endeavours

When they first started business in Bangalore, the platform saw a variety of requests each day. The founders were mesmerised by how varied the needs of the customers were. So they decided to modify DriveU to suit the demand of the majority. They received more booking on weekend nights when the customers find it difficult to drive after a long party. The heavy traffic of Bangalore and rush hours all the more increased the demand for DriveU. Another prominent need for drivers was for the customers who had just bought a car. They would rather have someone else drive the cars when they had just learned driving. 

DriveU hired a large portion of their original set of 50 drivers from driver administrators. The company initially interviewed the drivers and carried out the verification processes. Then they trained them for the procedures of DriveU. At the beginning of the services, the company only hired drivers with at least four years of experience in the field. They were also given a conduct practice that includes lessons on how to converse with clients, limiting cell phone use while driving etc.

The most significant difference between DriveU and taxi-hiring apps like Ola and Uber is the supply side of the business. Not many drivers in the country are able to afford their own car. As a result, such enterprises forcefully push EMI and down-payment offers to these drivers to make them buy their personal vehicles. Since the DriveU drivers do not need their own car, they had no scarcity of employees. Aside from driver administrators, the group is likewise taking a gander at freelance drivers who are trying to earn a side income by working as a part-time driver. 


DriveU fundings and investments

The prominent investors in DriveU are Lead Angels Network, Unitus Ventures, Stevens Creek Ventures etc. They conducted a seed round of funding in February 2016 in which they raised one million dollars. After this funding, they obtained startups like CallAtHome, DriversKart, Zuver etc. These acquisitions further enhanced their driver fleet and helped to reach a wider population. 

In another seed round in March 2018, they raised 3 million dollars from Singhal Foundation. Later in November of the same year, DriveU raised 7 crore rupees in a Venture round of funding led by Stevens Creek Ventures. The latest funding was led by Lead Angels Network in January 2019, when they raised an undisclosed amount. As of now, DriveU has completed more than 350,000 trips and has around 100,000 customers. They offer services in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Pune and Hyderabad.

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Nidhia Sebastian is an English literature graduate who looks forward to a career that complements her passion. Her never-ending love for language has brought her to creative writing. Having an open heart to knowledge is what leaves her with a thirst to explore the world. She believes in living life to the fullest and hopes to convey the same enthusiasm through her words.

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Nidhia Sebastian
Nidhia Sebastian
Nidhia Sebastian is an English literature graduate who looks forward to a career that complements her passion. Her never-ending love for language has brought her to creative writing. Having an open heart to knowledge is what leaves her with a thirst to explore the world. She believes in living life to the fullest and hopes to convey the same enthusiasm through her words.

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