V-Link to transform cab Travel in Mumbai
June 11, 2007 4:32 PM
It was from his wife from whom Neeraj Gupta borrowed Rs. 50,000/- to start a garage in 1998.
His wife, who was working with British Airways as cabin crew, was earning more than Neeraj then.
After finding umpteen number of garages in Mumbai, Neeraj positioned his garage 'elite', which is meant for high profile clients for a change.
However, the garage clicked and Neeraj graduated into fleet solutions with one bus, offering pick-up facility for Tata Infotech.
Things starting moving in right direction when Neeraj, the individual entrepreneur, got the contract of Pick-in-facility for Sitel India, a BPO outfit floated by Tata Infotech.
By 2002, Neeraj was owner of few buses with a turnover of just Rs. 11 lakh.
Today, Neeraj is Managing Director of V-Link Taxis and owns a fleet of 1,500 vehicles including 60-odd buses with a turnover of Rs. 45 crore.
The story is just beginning says Neeraj.
"V-Link is planning to have a fleet of 10,000 vehicles and a turnover of Es. 1,000 crore in next five years," he adds.
Neeraj, a simply commerce graduate from Mumbai University without any overseas MBA degree to his name, is getting his steps right by diversification.
V-Link has ventured into metered taxis in Mumbai as a part of Maharashtra government's "Fleet Taxi Scheme 2006" aims at modernizing Mumbai's existing black-and-yellow taxis.
The Company has forayed into air-conditioned metered taxis in Mumbai under the brand name Meru (taken from Mount Meru used in the 'sagar manthan' episode in Hindu mythology).
"At present, there are 60,000 taxis plying in Mumbai. We are planning to have 10 per cent market share of taxi space in the next five years. We are also planning to expand it to other cities such as Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai," Neeraj says.
His business model is based on research.
According to consumer research carried out by AC Nielsen, the concept or air-conditioned, GPS based radio taxis received positive response from more than 90 per cent of customers.
"The pain points of customer were faulty meters, poor driving skills, poorly maintained vehicles and refusal for short distances," the research reports says.
Neeraj says, "All cabs will be brand-new, air-conditioned luxury cars which would be charging 40 per cent more than the existing cabs."
These cabs will be fitted with tamper-proof digital meters and electronic printers to ensure right fares.
They will be endowed with GPS tracking technology and will be available on demand eigher calling the 24 x 7 customer care centre or logging into the company website.
The business model for V-Link was finalized by Accenture while the brand consultant was Chlorophyll.
The technology for MERU taxis are provided by firms in Dubai and Singapore.
The chauffeurs of these cabs are trained under an Austrian firm.
"The customer will feel the change and believe in doing business differently," he adds.
Having 10,000 vehicles will mean an investment of over Rs. 500 crore.
India Value Fund, a premier private equity investment fund, managing a corpus of $600 million, has taken an equity in V-Link Group to fund the business.