Big Idea

Going against the flow

Cityflo wants to make your daily commute a breeze

Soumik Kar

Rush hour commuting is a major woe in Mumbai, the city that never sleeps. Those who can, opt for getting stuck in bumper to fender traffic. Those who can’t do so trapped in stuffy train compartments and jam-packed buses. But for Jerin Venad and his friends, this bone-crushing discomfort seemed like a perfect business opportunity.

Taking a cue from redBus and cab aggregators like Uber and Ola, Jerin Venad along with five others launched Cityflo in May 2015. Cityflo, a technology platform facilitates interaction of private bus owners with commuters and is a point-to-point bus service connecting major business hubs to residential locations. Cityflo assures an air-conditioned ride to the commuter and its hassle free ticket booking through its Android app cuts short the agony of queuing up at the BEST stand.

“One day, my friends and I were discussing the improvement brought in by technology adoption in the mass transportation sector and as a result we came up with Cityflo,” says Venad. Explaining the revenue model Venad says, “We collect ticketing revenues from customers and charge the bus owner a fee for our services. Tickets cost about ₹3/km, and so far, our average ticket size is around ₹60.”

Fuelled with an initial investment of ₹20 lakh, the start-up recently raised $750,000 from IDG Ventures. Launched with 10 routes across Mumbai, Cityflo currently has 60 private buses and moves 1,800 customers daily. It has expansion plans in Mumbai as well as other cities. “There is a huge opportunity for what we're building. Commute needs to be stress-free and affordable. The key is to perfect the route operations alongside a scalable technology platform,” adds Venad.