Unicorn India Ventures, an early stage startup VC fund has announced its first investment in an inter-city on demand cab aggregator startup - Roder (formerly, instacab). The company launched in December, 2014 by 3 IIT Kharagpur alumni - Abhishek Negi, Ashish Rajput, and Siddhant Matre - aims to organise, bring transparency and affordability in intercity cab booking service.

Bhaskar Majumdar, Managing Partner, Unicorn India Venture says, “We have seen startups grow rapidly in intra-city cab booking space and the convenience it has brought in our lives. We believe Roder can bring the same convenience to customers who currently have to shell out two way tariff for traveling from one city to the other. Roder’s model is such that it not only makes cabs available at short notice but also results in substantial savings for customers. Our decision to invest in Roder is driven by the fact that their business model is scalable and this space is set to witness action and growth in the next few months."

Roder aims to eliminate “the return-fare” concept from the market by optimizing resources so that the customer only pays for the distance travelled. When booked via any other operator, a typical one-way Delhi to Agra cab journey costs around Rs 6000. Roder provides one-way fare to Agra at just Rs 2600, which is more than 50% cheaper than the market pricing, without compromising on customer safety and quality of service. The company focuses heavily on driver and cab verification, training of drivers to ensure customer safety and overall experience. The Roder Team uses technology to automate various processes, focuses on last-mile connectivity; making the system highly scalable. The company has launched its Android app and also accepts booking via its website and call center.

Abhishek Negi, Co-Founder, Roder says, “Since our inception in 2014, we have generated a GMV of over a crore by fulfilling 500 rides on a monthly basis, with an average ticket size of Rs 5,500. We are creating a new market for outstation cab services. The demand for booking one way rides via our platform has grown from 5% to 70% from our early days. We believe our team is now ready to take its services to new markets in the country. We have raised this seed funding round which is led by Unicorn to foray into 20 new cities in North and Western region of the country and bring a completely hassle free travel experience for the customers there.”

The company is also working on introducing ‘ride-sharing’ feature for intercity travellers there by optimising costs of travel for consumers. Roder has enabled the drivers to earn more from the same fleet of cars as their market and reach to consumers has increased with the use of technology.

Roder's business idea was born out a personal bad experience by the founders themselves who had to pay more for the distance travelled, tolerate bad behaviour of drivers on multiple occasions and difficulty in booking a cab for an outstation travel. The venture kicked off as a marketplace for cabs in 2014 but the founding team realised that the real pain point is booking for outstation cabs. Thus, Roder’s outstation cab service was launched in January last year. The company today works with a pool of more than 4,000 drivers and is present in 13 cities. It's a hybrid model where some of the fleet cars are owned by the company while the rest are driver owned cabs. This has helped them keep their costs low and pass on the benefit to the customers.

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