The story behind Yulu: The bike sharing app with a creative idea

Yulu is a Bangalore-based startup which provides dock-less bikes for commuters. Here's the story of their path to success.

How many times have you been distressed by the crammed traffic in the country? Whether you are leaving for an interview, work, or if you need to get someone to the hospital urgently, the roads decide whether you can make it or not. With the increasing number of vehicles, even the highways can become more clogged, leading to massive inconvenience for the citizens. Many innovative companies have come up with various solutions for traffic issues. Every single person can make a contribution by taking public transport, starting a carpool, etc. Yulu is a startup that introduced a more exciting way to make the roads less crowded. 

Yulu (1) is an online platform based in Bangalore, where you can find bikes near you ready for a ride. All you need to do is download the Yulu mobile app and scan the QR code to access the nearest vehicle. Yulu was founded by Amit Gupta, RK Misra, Naveen Dachuri, and Hemant Gupta in 2017. The company has also launched its own electric scooters named Yulu Miracle. When people start choosing a more sustainable choice of transport like the Yulu Miracle, it can have drastic changes in the environment. It can also be of great help in emergencies where you cannot find a suitable ride to travel a short distance. 

Yulu Miracle
Yulu Miracle

The level of comfort that Yulu offers requires a massive round of applause. You can find, ride, and park a cycle all with the help of a simple app on your mobile. The map on the application shows where you can find or park the scooters. You are required to pay 10 rupees for the Yulu Miracle and additional 10 rupees for every 10 minutes of the ride. Yulu accepts payments through PhonePe,  Google Pay, Paytm, UPI, debit, and credit cards. The operational team of Yulu keeps track of all the scooters and makes sure that they are perfectly maintained. Through an application, they can see the battery status and location details so that they can recharge the scooters in time. 


The birth of Yulu 

Yulu Co-Founder and CEO Amit Gupta
Yulu Co-Founder and CEO Amit Gupta

Amit Gupta, the co-founder, and CEO of Yulu had also co-founded a mobile marketing platform provider named InMobi. As a part of his former business, Amit often visited China where he became acquainted with bike-sharing applications like Ofo and Mobike. These companies had gained massive popularity in China within two years of starting services. Ever since these were initiated, China saw an eight percent drop in fuel sales. It also led to fewer people taking cabs for traveling short distances. 

Amit realized that his own country with a similar population density and an even worse traffic system could make use of a bike-sharing strategy like the one he saw in China. All he needed to do was modify the network to suit the economy and society of India. He wished to start the working of Yulu in Bangalore city where the traffic jam caused much inconvenience. Amit often found it frustrating to travel from HST Layout to Indiranagar. A distance that could be covered in seven minutes took more than 45 minutes, thanks to the congested roads. Most people could not afford to waste such a long time for the commute to work every day. It even felt less frustrating to go on foot than take public transport. 

Team Yulu
Yulu Founders – Amit Gupta, Naveen Dachuri, RK Mishra, and Hemant Gupta

After coming back to his country, Amit discussed the idea with his friends and brought together a group of passionate people. They were skilled professionals and rising business people who wanted to contribute to society. Finally, Amit launched Yulu in 2017 along with Naveen Dachuri, RK Mishra, and Hemant Gupta. The founders of Yulu were inspired and driven by an urge to solve the traffic issues in Bangalore city. For a city that has more than 80 lakh vehicles, Yulu was able to lead to drastic changes. 


The path towards success

Team Yulu
Team Yulu

The most significant milestone for Yulu was the initiation of the Yulu Miracle – the electric vehicle. It was, indeed, a miracle for the company. After almost a year since they started their services, Yulu made a strange discovery. The average distance traveled by each bike was 2 kilometers. Yulu was started with the hope to help first mile and last mile travel which was between three to five kilometers. However, people refused to choose Yulu bicycles for long distances because of various reasons. They did not want to cycle for such a long time; it was too tiring and hot. 

Yulu Miracle

The team of Yulu realized that people wanted something faster. Nevertheless, Yulu was not ready to compromise on environmental sustainability by choosing other modes of transport. Thus Yulu came up with their own electric bikes as a solution to both these problems. The Yulu Miracle is a much better option, both for the clients and the environment. It is a dock-less lightweight scooter that is powered by a Lithium battery. Yulu calls them MMVs or micro-mobility vehicles meant for a single person to ride for a small distance. 

The Yulu Miracle can go up to a speed of only 25 kilometers per hour. When charged once, it can travel 70 kilometers. The best part is the dockless system which makes the whole process controllable through a mobile app. It also has a security system that sounds an alarm if anyone tries to meddle with the dockless technique. After Yulu launched the electric scooters, they collaborated with the Namma Metro of Bangalore to promote the smooth commute for people.


Yulu Funding and Investments


In July 2018, a year after Yulu was launched, they received a seed funding of 7 million dollars. The series A round of funding was led by Bajaj Auto Finance in November 2019. It raised a total of 8 million dollars, and Yulu was also able to source from the Bajaj electric vehicles. Yulu used this funding for introducing 100,000 Yulu Miracles to the road of Bangalore, Mumbai, and Bhubaneswar. The latest funding for Yulu was closed in June 2020 in spite of the panic caused by the pandemic. In this round, the US-based venture capital firm, Rocketship, as well as existing investors,s were able to raise 30 crore rupees. The other investors in Yulu are Blume Ventures, 3one4 Capital, Wavemaker, etc. 

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