Bengaluru-based two-wheeler rental startup Bounce that bought Chinese beleaguered bike-rental company Ofo, is in talks with ride-hailing giant Uber India to list its two-wheelers on the latter’s platform, two people close to the matter told local media Mint.
A Bounce spokesperson told KrASIA that the company does not comment on market speculation.
“If Uber’s talks with Bounce materialize, the cab-hailing firm will start with a pilot service in Bengaluru which will not entail any financial agreements,” one of the sources told Mint.
It is to be noted that Uber has been looking to increase its offering from mere four wheelers and wants to include other mobility options such as scooters, cycles, and even providing information about metro from its platform.
Uber has already partnered with bicycle-renting platform Yulu to allow users rent bicycles from its app. The Mint report quoted an Uber spokesperson who said, “Uber had partnered with Yulu for a pilot in Bangalore for a period of six months. We are currently collating market feedback and are committed to make urban commuting efficient and eco-friendly.”
Earlier in June this year, Bounce raised USD 72 million led by B Capital and Falcon Edge Capital to give a push to its aspirations of leading a fleet of electric scooters. The company claimed it has a 2,000 electric scooters in Bengaluru and around 1,000 in Hyderabad—another South Indian city.
By the end of this year, it said it wants to be in “100 smaller cities and 10 large cities” with its electric scooter rental offering. Currently it is present in over 30 cities and claims to have clocked 11 million trips in total.
Bounce’s closes competitor Vogo received USD 100 million from Ola in December 2018. At the time of the investment, Vogo had said it would use the money to add 100,000 new scooters on its renting platform. It recently raised USD 4 million in its ongoing Series C round from Matrix Partners, Stellaris Venture Partners, and Kalaari Capital. The company is looking to raise a total of USD 50 million in the series C round to increase its capacity of electric scooters in the country.
The infrastructure in India for electric scooters and bikes is not conducive as there aren’t any public charging stations. Electric scooter renting platforms are thus looking at other alternatives rather than spending on creating infrastructure around charging vehicles. According to media reports, Bounce is working on creating its own electric scooters and swappable batteries. Another mobility solutions startup Drivezy that offers four-wheelers on rent is also working on swappable batteries.
In an earlier interaction with KrASIA, Drivezy founder Ashwarya Singh said, “People are scared of being stranded in a place with no charging point nearby. This is precisely why we are working on swappable battery.”