Aishwarya Saraswat: Hello Welcome to IIM Indore. We are happy to have you here with us.
Parag Jain: Thank You! As it happens, Indore is one of the biggest cities for Jugnoo in terms of daily transactions.
A: There are other competitors as well like Ola, Uber and Tuk Tuk. How does Jugnoo make sure that it keeps pace with the fierce competition?
P: Luckily as far as Indore is concerned, we are the pioneers. We launched before the others and are far ahead of them in terms of number of rides. There is a critical mass that needs to be reached in every city in terms of supply and demand and as long as you are able to do that, it becomes really difficult for another competitor to come and topple you. If people are confident that this brand can get me out of the jam because I have heard about it from a lot of people then they are sure to keep using this service.
There are two factors that we closely track, one is efficiency and the other is reliability. Efficiency for us is how many rides can a driver get while he is on duty. Drivers usually take 5-6 rides in a day and are free for the rest of the day. We are working towards increasing the efficiency from 30% to say 60% by giving the driver, say 10 extra rides translating into more savings for him. That way the customer is happy because he doesn’t feel cheated as they don’t have to haggle with the auto drivers like they had to do earlier. So we are working on the efficiency factor on the auto driver side and on the reliability factor on the customer side.
A: How do you zero in on the cities that Jugnoo targets?
P: Presently, we are present in 40 plus cities. We divide the markets into-Growth, mature and Seed cities. Indore happens to be a mature city which means our efficiency and reliability matrix is pretty good here. As far as choosing the cities is concerned it is driven by a lot of factors. Since inception, we have targeted tier-2 and tier-3 cities and have grown up from there. Tier-1 cities came as an afterthought because of the prevalent competition there.
We don’t have hundreds of millions of dollars like Uber and Ola so we don’t want to get caught in the cross fires and want to avoid them as far as possible.
A: How did Jugnoo come up with this idea of changing the way the Autorickshaws work in India?
P: I would say it happened more by accident. We realized that the Indian market isn’t cut out for foreign models like that of LIFT. While exploring the market, we saw this huge gap in the autorickshaw market. To put that in numbers, 3 crore auto rides happen every day in India which is 20 times the number of the taxi rides. 50 lakh auto rickshaws exist in the country. Inspite of this huge demand, the efficiency isn’t there. A typical auto rickshaw driver takes 6 rides a day and hardly saves anything after all the expenses. The idea was that if we can maybe double the number of rides he is doing so that the savings would not just double but increase exponentially because the basic expenses he incurs remain the same. So we started exploring this possibility and launched out of Chandigarh. The technology part kept evolving and as the demand continued to increase we expanded into other cities. Most of it was try often fail fast. At one point, we launched across 25 cities in a span of 3 months. Since the beginning we have stayed really lean. The analytics team has worked really hard since the very beginning in all the aspects, everything was based on the numbers, we kept seeing what was ticking and what was not and evolved in that process.
A: Well the journey till now surely sounds interesting! Moving forward, where do you want to see Jugnoo five years from now?
P: In terms of vision while we want to continue growing in the A to B space. At this time, we are doing 40,000 transactions every day which is not very significant so we are just too small and the journey has just begun and we want to grow in this auto hailing space. We have also realized that this is not the only thing that we are going to do, we have also forayed into hyper local delivery services using the same supply base and user base from Jugnoo by launching our new brand DODO. It has been running in three cities and Indore is up next. The auto rickshaw as an asset is the densest asset in the country which essentially means that if a request comes from a restaurant for delivery, the probability that our auto rickshaw is in the vicinity would be the highest. We feel that once we reach a certain kind of a scale with regard to these deliveries, we will be able to prove that auto rickshaws can be the most economical form doing A2B transport.
A: Before signing off, what message would you like to give to the budding entrepreneurs in India? What is it that drives you and what should they be doing to get it right as an entrepreneur?
P: Solve a real problem, nothing beats that! Don’t get carried away by the funding and try to run it like a business wherein you don’t go into the burn game wherein you are spending ten times more than what you are earning. So keep your pace slower.
The life of an entrepreneur is hard! Nine out of ten startups fail. Summer, the founder of Jugnoo might as well have done twenty different things before Jugnoo clicked. But yeah, if you are solving a real and are on it for a good period of time then be rest assured that you would be able to crack it.