Meru Cabs has raised Rs 150 crore ($25 million) from Brand Capital, the investment arm of Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd (BCCL) that publishes the Times of India newspaper.
The funds will be used to strengthen its foothold in the domestic taxi-hailing market, increase brand awareness and widen its customer base.
The size of the country's organised taxi-hailing market seen $15 billion by year 2022 from $1.2 billion now. The company believes this presents an enormous opportunity for growth.
“With the ongoing transformation in the taxi industry, this move is in line with the company's efforts to showcase its services to a larger customer segment via a bouquet of media channels,” said Siddhartha Pahwa, CEO, Meru Cabs.
Since May 2015, when Meru last raised $50 million from its existing investor India Value Fund Advisors (IVFA), it has expanded its taxi service to 24 additional cities, launched four new services and grown its fleet size to 20,000 vehicles, the company's press release said.
“We are confident that this partnership will help accelerate the process of creating the requisite brand positioning as well as awareness for customers who are present across mediums/platforms like Print, OOH, digital, social media etc,” siad Shrenik M Khasgiwala - Director, Brand Capital.
Meru entered the market in 2007 in association with India Value Fund, when the Maharashtra government invited tenders for GPS-linked electronically metered cab for 10,000 cabs in 2006, replacing the old black-and-yellow taxis.
Neeraj Gupta, the founder, was interested in the concept as he had seen a similar service during one of his holidays in Singapore and London, says The Economic Times.
Besides, he had the experience of running such a service as he would provide taxis to BPOs and corporates. Enthusiastic about the new program launched by the state government, he st up two wholly owned firms -- V-Link Float Solutions for taxi services for BPOs and corporates, and V-Link Taxis for the new venture focussing on radio cabs.
Gupta got Rs 50 crore from India value Funds. Headquartered in Mumbai, Meru Cabs was launched with 45 taxis in 2007. It started operations in three cities in 2008 -- Delhi, Hyderabad and Bengaluru, followed it up with two more cities -- Jaipur and Ahmedabad in 2013 and Chennai in 2015. The company has scaled its fleet to over 6000 cabs in the last six years.
Updated Date: Jul 01, 2016 16:03 PM