Of all the modern age problems that millions of scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs are engaged in solving with the help of modern technology, the most routine of the problems – office commuting – still remains largely unresolved. Ask any office-goer about their satisfaction level with their office commute, whether the personal vehicle, public transport, or the new-fangled start up solutions: Ridesharing apps, technology platforms like Ola and Uber, or the recently launched bus-pooling services. A varying combination of high-cost and time factors, unbearable hassles and untrustworthiness continue to make all these options fall way short of being satisfactory.
Gaurav Sinsinwar and Prasenjit Singh, both IIT Delhi graduates, had set out to address the issue with a startup idea about ridesharing. Of course, the idea failed quickly before even taking off much like many of its kind. Instead of weakening their resolve to address what they term, ‘the problem of problems’, the failure made them yet more determined to wade still deeper into the swampy waters of office-commuting.
The outcome was December 2014 launch of Winwincab, a technology startup exclusively focused on providing transport solutions to corporates and institutions. The decision to first launch a B2B venture in the domain was a well-deliberated one on the part of the founders.
Simultaneous with the urgent need to run a venture that was “guaranteed to succeed”, they needed to gain deeper experience and insight into the sector: “to get their four feet firmly planted in the ground”, as they term it.
Presently, the resounding success of Winwincab has emboldened the team, joined by Akash Chaudhary, an IIT Roorkee alumnus as co-founder so much that they are absolutely confident of succeeding with Derbii, a rapidly scalable B2C venture that they have launched barely a month ago in March 2016. This confidence stems from their belief that they have hit upon a model which is entirely novel, despite being “old as hills”.
According to the three founders of Derbii, the model combines in itself the “reliability and solidity” of the good old cab services, on the one hand, and “technological edge and cost- effectiveness of ride-sharing”, on the other. Extensive research and analysis, reinforced with a lot of cutting-edge technology to identify and assign cost and time optimum routes to the cabs have gone in to create this platform, according to them.
You need only to post your commuting details on their mobile app and be assured of getting shared transport from your doorstep to the office gate, with all the tech nick-nacks, like GPS tracking, arrival alerts, online payments etc. The proposition indeed looks pretty simple
and enticing. What is more, it costs less than private cars or office cabs, they claim. And it
compares well with bus-pooling services (for failing to deliver ‘last mile connectivity’) and promises a better revenue model.
Derbii is already providing commuting service to more than 80 customers through 20 or so cabs, with it’s unit economics well in place. They have already raised an undisclosed seed round from private investors and are looking at another round to speed up their growth.
How far Derbii goes in solving this ‘problem of problems’ and making, in the process, a success of itself, the coming few months would reveal. Yet there is little doubt that if they indeed have cracked (as they claim to have) the hard nut of commuting, they can be said to have already made it.