Bounce, a Bangalore-based startup that operates over 15,000 electric and gasoline docked bikes in nearly three dozen cities in India, said today it has raised $105 million in a new funding round as it explores sustainable ways to expand within the nation and build its own electric vehicles.
The new financing round, Series D, was co-led by existing investors Eduardo Saverin’s B Capital and Accel Partners India, said the startup. The new round valued Bounce at a little over $500 million, up from about $200 million in June last year, a person familiar with the matter told TechCrunch.
TechCrunch reported in late November that Bounce was in advanced stages of talks to raise $150 million at over $500 million valuation. The startup has raised $194 million to date.
Bounce, formerly known as Metro Bikes, allows customers to rent a scooter and pay 10.5 Indian rupees (15 cents) for each kilometer of the ride. The platform clocks 1.2 million rides each day.
Bounce earlier deployed its own operations team in each city and flooded the market with its scooters, but in recent weeks it has started to explore a new strategy, said co-founder and chief executive Vivekananda Hallekere in an interview with TechCrunch.
“We realized that it was not the smartest move to expand Bounce’s network on our own,” he said. The startup now works with mom-and-pop stores and local merchants in each city and they run their own operations.
To date, Bounce has replicated this model in six cities in India and has partnered with over 250,000 shops and merchants. “We launch in the cities with our own vehicles, but overtime, these micro-entrepreneurs deploy their own bikes and scooters. They are still using our app, and are part of the Bounce platform, but they don’t have to be locked into our scooter ecosystem,” he explained.
The shift in strategy comes as Bounce looks to cut expenses and find a sustainable way to expand. “Otherwise, I would need a billion dollar of debt to launch a million vehicles in India,” he argued. “We wanted a model that is scalable and profitable, and helps us create the most impact.”
Bounce is part of a small group of startups that is attempting to address a market that cab-hailing services Uber and Ola have been unable to address. The startup competes with Vogo, which is backed by Ola, and Yulu, which maintains a partnership with Uber.
Riding these bikes is more affordable than hailing a cab, and also two wheels are much faster in crowded traffic of urban cities than four. These bikes have also proven useful in other ways. Hallekere said female users account for over 30% of all rides on Bounce — a figure that beats the industry estimates, because women feel much more safer with bikes, he said. “They don’t have to worry about finding a cab in rush hours and evening,” he said.
More to follow…
Indian bike rental startup Bounce raises 5M
Source: Tech Crunch